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Peter A. Clayton 


The Reign-by-Reign Record of the 
Rulers and Dynasties of Ancient Egypt 


For Janet, 

in celebration of our heb-sed 


pages 6-7 


God-kings of the Nile 

pages 8-13 


The Chronology of Ancient Egypt 

[Half-title] Ramesses III smites enemies 
before Amun. South wall of First Pylon, 
Medinet Habu (Thebes). 
[Frontispiece) Painted limestone relief 
with Merytaten offering mandrake fruit 
to her husband, Smenkhkare. Berlin 

Any copy of this book issued by the 
publisher as a paperback is sold subject 
to the condition that it shall not by way 
of trade or otherwise be lent, resold, 
hired out or otherwise circulated 
without the publisher's prior consent in 
any form of binding or cover other than 
that in which it is published and 
without a similar condition including 
these words being imposed on a 
subsequent purchaser. 

© 1994 Thames & Hudson Ltd, 


Text © 1994 Peter A. Clayton 

First published in hardcover in the 

United States of America in 1994 by 

Thames & Hudson Inc., 

500 Fifth Avenue, 

New York, New York 10110 

Reprinted 2001 

Library of Congress Catalog Card 
Number 94-60269 
ISBN 0-500-05074-0 

All Rights Reserved. No part of this 
publication may be reproduced or 
transmitted in any form or by any 
means, electronic or mechanical, 
including photocopy, recording or any 
other information storage and retrieval 
system, without prior permission in 
writing from the publisher. 

Printed and bound in Slovenia 
by Mladinska Knjiga 

DYNASTIES '0'-2 pages 14-29 

The First Pharaohs 

The Early Dynastic Period 
3150-2686 bc 

From Narmer to Khasekhemwy: 
the unification of Egypt 

DYNASTIES 3-6 pages 30-67 

The Pyramid Builders 

The Old Kingdom 
2686-2181 bc 

Djoser, Khufu, Khafre and Menkaure: 
the pyramids of Saqqara and Giza 

DYNASTIES 7-17 pages 68-97 

Chaos and Rebirth 

The First Intermediate Period 
2181-2040 bc 

The collapse of central authority: 

competing kings of Memphis and Herakleopolis 

The Middle Kingdom 

2040-1782 bc 

reunification and expansion into Nubia 

The Second Intermediate Period 

1782-1570 bc 

Invasion of the Hyksos: 
Asiatic rule from Avaris in the Delta 

DYNASTIES 18-20 pages 98-171 

Rulers of an Empire 

The New Kingdom 
1570-1070 bc 

Restoration of native Egyptian rule under Ahmose; the great age of 
Tuthmosis III, Akhenaten, Tutankhamun and Ramesses II 


DYNASTIES 21-31 pages 172-205 

Senusret III 

The Weakening of 
Pharaonic Power 

The Third Intermediate Period 
1069-525 bc 

The Delta dynasties of Ranis, Bubastis and Sais; 

intervention by the kings of Rush 

The Late Period 

525-332 bc 

Conquest and reconquest by the Achaemenid Persians; 
Nubian interlude 

Tuthmosis III 

page 206-217 

The Graeco-Roman Period 

332 bc-ad 641 

Alexander the Great, 
Cleopatra and the Romans 

page 218 
The Five Royal Names of the Pharaohs 

Psusennes I 

page 219 
Select Bibliography 

page 220 

Acknowledgments and 

Illustration Credits 

pages 221-224 

6 Preface 

God-Kings of 
the Nile 

Copper alloy kneeling statuette of 
Amenemhet III (1842-1797 bc), part of a 
rare group of figures in this metal of the 
king, his wife and chief scribes 
(pp. 87-9). George Ortiz Collection, 

Egyptian civilization was one of the greatest in the ancient world, and 
certainly the most long lived, lasting for more than 3000 years. In the 
popular mind the immediate images are those of the pyramids, the great 
Sphinx at Giza, the enormous temples and the fabulous treasures that 
have been preserved in the dry sand of Egypt. But what of the people 
who were responsible for such splendours? 

The ancient Egyptian pharaohs were god-kings on earth who became 
gods in their own right at their death. They indeed held the power of life 
and death in their hands - their symbols of office, the crook and flail, 
are indicative of this. They could command resources that many a mod- 
ern-day state would be hard pressed to emulate. One has only to conjure 
with some statistics to realize this. For example, the Great Pyramid of 
Khufu (Cheops) at Giza, originally 481 ft (146 m) high and covering 13.1 
acres (5.3 hectares), was the tallest building in the world until the 19th 
century ad, yet it was constructed in the mid-3rd millennium bc, and 
we still do not know exactly how it was done. Its base area is so vast 
that it can accommodate the cathedrals of Florence, Milan, St Paul's 
and Westminster Abbey in London and St Peter's in Rome, and still 
have some space left over. 

The vast treasures of precious metal and jewellery that, miraculous- 
ly, escaped the attentions of the tomb robbers are almost beyond com- 
prehension. Tutankhamun's solid gold inner coffin is a priceless work 
of art; even at current scrap gold prices by weight it would be worth 
almost £1 million ($1.5 million), and his gold funerary mask £105,000 
($155,000). He was just a minor pharaoh of little consequence - the 
wealth of greater pharaohs such as Ramesses II, by comparison, is 

The names of other great pharaohs resound down the centuries. The 
pyramid-builders numbered not merely Khufu, but his famous predeces- 
sor Djoser - whose Step Pyramid dominates the royal necropolis at 
Saqqara - and his successors Khafre (Chephren) and Menkaure 
(Mycerinus). Later monarchs included the warriors Tuthmosis III, 
Amenhotep III, and Seti I, not to mention the infamous heretic-king 
Akhenaten. Yet part of the fascination of taking a broad approach to 
Egyptian history is the emergence of lesser names and fresh themes. 
The importance of royal wives in a matrilineal society and the extent to 
which Egyptian queens could and did reign supreme in their own right - 
Sobeknefru, Hatshepsut, and Twosret to name but three - is only the 
most prominent among several newly emergent themes. 

The known 170 or more pharaohs were all part of a line of royalty 
that stretched back to c. 3100 bc and forward to the last of the native 
pharaohs who died in 343 bc, to be succeeded by Persians and then a 
Greek line of Ptolemies until Cleopatra VII committed suicide in 30 bc. 
Following the 3rd-century bc High Priest of Heliopolis, Manetho - 
whose list of Egyptian kings has largely survived in the writings of 
Christian clerics - we can divide much of this enormous span of time 
into 30 dynasties. Egyptologists today group these dynasties into longer 

God-Kings of the Nile 7 

The royal family: the 18th Dynasty king 
Akhenaten (1350-1334 bc) and his 
queen Nefertiti with three of their six 
-mall daughters. The intimacy of the 
scene ls unprecedented, in earlier 
Ecvpt^ 11 art - Berlin Museum. 

eras, the three major pharaonic periods being the 
Old, Middle and New Kingdoms, each of which 
ended in a period of decline given the designation 
'Intermediate Period 7 . 

In Chronicle of the Pharaohs, that emotive and 
incandescent 3000-year-old thread of kingship is 
traced, setting the rulers in their context. Where 
possible, we gaze upon the face of pharaoh, either 
via reliefs and statuary or, in some rare and thought- 
provoking instances, on the actual face of the 
mummy of the royal dead. Across the centuries the 
artist's conception reveals to us the god-like com- 
placency of the Old Kingdom pharaohs, the care- 
worn faces of the rulers of the Middle Kingdom, and 
the powerful and confident features of the militant 
New Kingdom pharaohs. Such was their power in 
Egypt, and at times throughout the ancient Near 
East, that Shelley's words, 'Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!', 
do indeed ring true as a reflection of their omnipotence. 

Many books are published each year on ancient Egypt, on different 
aspects of its history and culture. Here, for the first time, an overall 
view is taken of those incredible people, the pharaohs who, although 
human after all, were looked upon by thousands as gods on earth and 
whose very achievements were, and even today still appear to be, the 
creations of the gods themselves. 



->os II (1279-1212 bc), in a 
:. 1 . 1 v aggressive pose, grasps a. trio of 
: prisoners by the hair, ready to 
:h them with the incongruously 
:\c held in his left hand. Cairo 



Egypt and the Nile 

Egypt is a land of extreme geographical 
contrasts, recognized by the ancient 
Egyptians in the names that they gave 
to the two diametrically opposed areas. 
The rich narrow agricultural strip 
alongside the Nile was called Kmt, 'The 
Black Land', while the inhospitable 
desert was Dsrt, 'The Red Land'. Often, 
in Upper Egypt, the desert reaches the 
water's edge. 

There was also a division between the 
north and the south, the line being 
drawn roughly in the area of modern 
Cairo. To the north was Lower Egypt 
where the Nile fanned out, with its 
several mouths, to form the Delta (the 
name coming from its inverted shape of 
the fouth letter, delta, of the Greek 
alphabet). To the south was Upper 
Egypt, stretching to Elephantine 
(modern Aswan). The two kingdoms, 
Upper and Lower Egypt, were united in 
c. 3 1 00 BC, but each had their own 
regalia. The low Red Crown (the 
deshret) represented Lower Egypt and its 
symbol was the papyrus plant. Upper 
Egypt was represented by the tall White 
Crown (the hedjet), its symbol being the 
flowering lotus. The combined Red and 
White crowns became the shmty. The 
two lands could also be embodied in 
The Two Ladies, respectively the cobra 
goddess Wadjet of Buto, and the vulture 
goddess Nekhbet of Nekheb. 

(Below) Symbols of Upper and Lower 





The Chronology of Ancient Egypt 9 

The Chronology 
of Ancient Egypt 

In the early 6th century bc Solon (c. 640-560 bc), the Athenian states- 
man and legislator, travelled to Egypt. There he visited the temple in 
the city of Naucratis in the Delta, a city recently settled by Greeks from 
Miletus. Solon, as a great statesman from a great city, was justly proud 
of Athens and its long history, but he was sharply put in his place by the 
priests of the temple with whom he was discussing history when they 
tartly reminded him: 'You Hellenes [Greeks] are but children. 7 They 
meant, and rightly so, that Greek history could not in any way equate 
in time and content with that of Egypt. 

In this they were correct, but it is interesting to reflect that the 
priests themselves were only the inheritors of a long historical tradition 
that stretched back almost 3000 years. Whilst they obviously had 
sources to hand which are no longer extant today, they were living at a 
time when the grandeur of ancient Egypt was long past and we do not 
know exactly what historical records were then available to them. That 
some detailed records existed is proved by the fact that Manetho, a 
Graeco-Egyptian priest born at Sebennytos in the Delta, was able to 
write a detailed history of Egypt 300 years later in the 3rd century bc. 

Manetho and tee Cuit 
of Serapis 

Vanetho lived during the reign of 
: emy I, Governor and Satrap of 
:: from 323 to 305 and king from 
*05 to 282 bc. Plutarch tells us that 
Vanetho was one of the two priestly 
sors to the king and that he had 
oeen concerned with the introduction 
e cult of Serapis. This god, 
:-sented as a bearded man with a 
■ modi us (measure) on his head, 
= conflation of Egyptian and 
.reek ideas which had wide appeal 

..lose cult, under Rome, spread 
is far as Roman York (Corpus Inscr. 
■ .11. 240). Alexandria was noted 
- its temple to Serapis with the 
= cult statue by the sculptor 
. ntroduced into the temple 
: 286 bc, as well as for its later 
orary and also being the burial 
ace of Alexander the Great. 
c s association with the 
-Von of the cult may be 
: .•.! edged by the appearance of 
9 on a statue base found in 
-pie of Serapis at Carthage 
1007); it may have been a 
trait bust of him, but we shall 
■ know. 

Manetho and the history of Egypt 

Manetho's Egyptian History (also known as Notes about Egypt) gives us 
the basic structure or skeleton of Egyptian chronology that we use 
today. He divided Egyptian history into dynasties (essentially, ruling 
houses) and we recognize 30 of them from the unification of Egypt in 
c. 3100 bc down to the death of the last native Egyptian pharaoh, 
Nectanebo II, in 343 bc. Sometimes the last phase of ancient Egyptian 
history after this date has two dynasties added - the 31st and 32nd - 
which are the Second Persian Period, and the Macedonian rulers linked 
with the Ptolemaic Dynasty, which ends with the suicide of the last of 
the Ptolemies, Cleopatra VII, in 30 bc. 

Curiously, although great reliance is placed on Manetho, no full text 
of his work survives. Perhaps one day a papyrus edition will be found, 
possibly coming from one of the cities of the Faiyum which have pro- 
duced so much literary and historical material on papyri from the 
Graeco-Roman period. Manetho's History is known to us only by 
chance since it was highly thought of in antiquity and several writers 
whose works have survived quoted extensively from it. Principal 
amongst these was Josephus (writing in the late 1st century ad), in his 
Jewish Antiquities and Contra Apionem, and the Christian chronogra- 
phers Sextus Julius Africanus, whose Chronicle comes down to c. ad 
220, and Bishop Eusebius of Caesarea, whose writings add another 100 
years into the early 4th century. Some 500 years later, the work of the 
last two writers was used as a basis for a history of the world by George 
the Monk who was secretary (hence his also being known as Syncellus) 
to the Byzantine Patriarch Tarasius (784-806). All these authors took 
what they wanted for their own purposes from their sources and so 
Manetho's account only exists in fragments within these later works. 

10 Introduction 





[Above] The Rosetta Stone is perhaps 
one of the most famous antiquities in 
the world. It passed to Britain under 
Article 16 of the Treaty of Alexandria, 
1801. By comparing the cartouche of 
Ptolemy on the Stone with the 
cartouche of Cleopatra on the Philae 
obelisk at Kingston Lacy, Dorset, 
Champollion was able to identify 
several coincidental letters, forming the 
basis of his decipherment. British 

Manetho 7 s sources were very mixed. He obviously had access to tem- 
ple records, since we know that he was a priest in the temple at 
Heliopolis (the Biblical city of On). His name itself has overtones of 
learning because it appears to be associated with Thoth, the ibis-headed 
god of wisdom who invented hieroglyphs. It may mean 'Beloved of 
Thoth 7 or possibly 'Gift of Thoth 7 . He had sources such as the official 
papyrus histories, the sacred books in the temple and, not least, the his- 
torical inscriptions on the temple walls such as the king lists described 
below, Ramesses IIFs account of his battles with the Sea Peoples at 
Medinet Habu, and many more that have not been preserved. To all 
these possible sources, however, he added a lot of popular traditions and 
stories of the kings, some of which are far from credible. He was also, 
obviously, conversant with the writings of Herodotus, the Greek histo- 
rian from Halicarnassus, who had visited Egypt around 450 bc and writ- 
ten much about the land and its history in Book 2 of his History. 

Egyptian chronology: the evidence from inscriptions 

From an incomplete and variously corrupt literary history it is possible 
to examine some of the actual written sources. Whilst these had sur- 
vived from ancient Egyptian times, after about the end of the 4th centu- 
ry ad they could no longer be read. The latest dated inscription in 
Egyptian hieroglyphs occurs on the temple of Philae in ad 394. 
Thereafter the 'key 7 was lost although many scholars during the 
European Renaissance, and later the Jesuit priest Athanasius Kircher 
(1602-80), made valiant attempts at decipherment, often with incredi- 
ble results. In 1761 another priest, the Abbe Jean Jacques Barthelemy, 
published a paper in which he suggested that the oval rings in which a 
number of the hieroglyphic signs occurred enclosed royal names. It was 
working from those 'ovals 7 , now called cartouches, that Jean Francois 
Champollion was able to 'crack the code 7 of Egyptian hieroglyphs with 
the Rosetta Stone. This odd-shaped slab of black basalt was found by a 
French officer of engineers, Lieutenant P.F.X. Bouchard, serving with 
the Napoleonic Expedition in Egypt, at Fort Julien at the Rosetta mouth 
of the Nile in 1799. It is inscribed in three scripts representing two lan- 
guages. The upper portion is written in Egyptian hieroglyphs, the centre 
in the Egyptian demotic script, and the lower section is in Greek. The 
latter was easily translated, revealing that the inscription, the Decree of 
Memphis, is a decree of Ptolemy V, dated to Year 9 of his reign, 196 bc. 
With this as a base Champollion was able to work toward his eventual 
epoch-making paper, Lettre a M. Daciei, in 1822 which opened the 
floodgates to the decipherment of Egyptian hieroglyphs. 

Apart from priestly inscriptions such as the Rosetta Stone, the 
Shabaka Stone (p. 192) and others such as the Sehel boulder inscription 
No. 81 (p. 33), there are only a few sources with actual lists pertaining 
to Egyptian history and chronology. References to small, specific areas 
of chronology, often only reflecting an individual's part in it, occur, but 
the evidence is slight and often difficult. 

The Chronology of Ancient Egypt 11 

. rove) A section of the Palermo Stone 
" inches high, 9 3 A inches wide or 43.5 
25 cm). It is thought that originally 
:his monument was just over 6V1 ft 
2 m) long and about 23 Vi inches (60 cm) 
high. It is laid out in a series of boxes 
vhich give the king's name and then 
the events of that reign by numerical 
vear (like the dating of laws by regnal 
. .--r in England). Thus we find entries 
• Icr a king's name, such as 'Year 4 
: :rst Occurrence of the Feast of Sokar 7 . 
Similar dating by year and events occurs 
>n a number of the small ivory labels 
:n Abydos and Saqqara that were tied 
individual items such as sandals 
: 22, 24). Palermo Museum, Sicily. 

Right) The Abydos King list in the 
::ish Museum is a much inferior 
..plicate of the larger Royal List (p. 12) 

in the Hall of Ancestors or Records in 
j temple of Abydos. 

The earliest evidence surviving is the Palermo Stone, which dates 
from the 5th Dynasty (2498-2345 bc). One large section of this black 
diorite slab is in the Palermo Museum in Sicily and smaller fragments 
are in the Cairo Museum and the Petrie Museum, University College 
London. The Palermo fragment is inscribed on both sides and records 
some of the last Predynastic kings before 3150 bc followed by the kings 
through to Neferirkare in the mid-5th Dynasty. 

The Royal List of Karnak (now in the Louvre) has a list of kings run- 
ning from the first king down to Tuthmosis III (1504-1450 bc). It has an 
added advantage in that it records the names of many of the obscure 
kings of the Second Intermediate Period (Dynasties 13-17). 

The Royal List of Abydos is still in situ on the walls of the corridor in 
the Hall of Ancestors in the magnificent temple of Seti I (1291-1278 bc). 
It shows Seti with his young son (later Ramesses II) before a list of the 
cartouches of 76 kings running in two rows from the first king to Seti I 
(the third row of cartouches on the wall beneath these merely repeats 
Seti's own). The kings of the Second Intermediate Period are not given 
(hence the value of the Karnak List, above), neither are there the car- 
touches of the kings at the end of the 18th Dynasty after Amenhotep III, 
who were not considered acceptable because of their association with 
the Amarna 'heresy' (Akhenaten, Smenkhkare, Tutankhamun and Ay: 
see pp. 120-139). A badly damaged duplicate of this list, but arranged in 
three rows instead of two, was found in the nearby temple of Ramesses 
II. Known as the Abydos King List, it is now in the British Museum. 

■ i 

';,;'« Jilt '.««,■! ;t : 

"«t .«. 

-c J ■■■■■ l ::■ 

■■■■ , 

!!F 1 , B i#$ 

Seti I and his young son, the future 
Ramesses II, worship the cartouched 
names of their ancestors in the Hall of 
Ancestors or Records in the temple of 
Abydos. Unacceptable ancestors such as 
Queen Hatshepsut and the 'Amarna' 
pharaohs (pp. 120-39) are conveniently 
omitted from the list. 

The Maladjusted 

The discrepancy between the 
Egyptian civil year of 365 days and 
the true year of 365% days led to 
some curious anomalies. One 
inscription from the reign of 
Amenemhet III (1842-1797 bc) 
records a visit by the king's treasurer 
Harurre to Serabit el-Khadim, in 
Sinai, to extract turquoise ore in the 
third month of what was, according to 
the civil calendar, winter. However, 
the actual weather conditions 
prevailing were those of high summer 
because the calendar was some 
seven months out, and Harurre 
records how he and his men suffered 
badly from 'the mountains that brand 
the skin' with the very great heat. 
As a Ramesside papyrus records in 
the 13th century bc, 'Winter is come 
in Summer, the months are reversed, 
the hours in confusion'. 

One other list inscribed on stone is the Royal List of Saqqara, now in 
the Cairo Museum. It was found in the tomb of the Royal Scribe 
Thunery at Saqqara and has 47 cartouches (originally it had 58) running 
from Anedjib of the 1st Dynasty to Ramesses II, again omitting those of 
the Second Intermediate Period. 

Egyptian chronology: the Royal Canon of Turin 

The finest record of the chronology of the Egyptian kings is unfortu- 
nately the most damaged and now incomplete. It is a papyrus known as 
the Royal Canon of Turin, in which museum it is to be found. 
Originally the property of the king of Sardinia, tragically, it was badly 
packed and severely damaged during transportation. The list of the 
kings, originally over 300 of them, is written in a fine literate hand in 
the hieratic script on the back of a long Ramesside papyrus which has 
accounts on the front, or recto side. This dates it to having been written 
about 1200 bc. Like the scraps remaining from Manetho, and the first 
line of the Palermo Stone, it begins with dynasties of gods which are fol- 
lowed by those of earthly kings. A useful aspect is that it gives the exact 
lengths of each reign in years and even months and days. Its condition is 
such that piecing the fragments together is like solving a gigantic jigsaw 
puzzle with many pieces missing, so that what would have been the 
premier source for Egyptian chronology is an epigraphist's nightmare. 

Fixing true dates by the stars 

Even with the chronological information available, as outlined above, it 
may come as a surprise to realize that it is extremely difficult to fix true 
or absolute dates in Egyptian chronology. Most of the information given 
in the inscriptions mentioned is relative, in that it shows a sequence of 
kings relative to each other with sometimes a length of time between 
each reign, but to fix them in an absolute framework is a different mat- 
ter altogether. Absolute dates from ancient Egypt rely on astronomical 

The Chronology of Ancient Egypt 13 

Dates Followed in 

Chronicle oe the 


Some recent literature, both scholarly 
as well as 'fringe', has suggested 

: andish and unacceptable 
:~anges in the chronology. Principal 
amongst the former is Centuries of 
I --Kness by Peter James (1991), 
and amongst the latter the books of 

:■ kovsky and Von Daniken. It is 
small wonder then that there is often 
such a variety in the dates suggested 
m much of the literature. In this book 

e dating followed is largely that put 
'orward by Dr William J. Murnane in 

5 Penguin Guide to Ancient Egypt 

dating. This is done by reference to the civil and astronomical calendars 
in a complicated calculation involving the Sothic cycle of 1460 years, 
based on the heliacal rising of Sirius, or Sothis, the 'dog star'. The 
ancient Egyptians knew that the year consisted of 365 days, but they 
made no adjustment for the additional quarter of a day each year - as we 
do with Leap Year every four years at the end of February. Hence their 
civil and astronomical calendars were gradually moving out of synchro- 
nization and could bring about extremes of dating between the two. 
Eventually, every 1460 years, the two calendars coincided and were cor- 
rect for a short time, until they gradually became out of step again until 
the end of the next cycle. 

The heliacal rising of Sirius was, ideally, supposed to coincide with 
New Year's Day in the civil calendar, but did so only every 1460 years. 
The 3rd-century ad grammarian Censorinus records that in ad 139 the 
first day of the Egyptian civil year and the heliacal rising of Sirius did 
actually coincide - this being the end of a Sothic cycle. This phenome- 
non is also confirmed by a reverse type on the billon tetradrachms 
issued at the mint of Alexandria with the standing figure of a haloed 
phoenix and the Greek word AION (indicating the end of an era); it is 
also dated by the characters L B to regnal year 2 of the emperor 
Antoninus Pius, which fell between 19 August ad 138 and 28 August 
139. It is possible, working backwards, to deduce that comparable coin- 
cidences had occurred in 1317 bc and 2773 bc. 

The occurrence of a heliacal rising of Sirius is recorded in the 7th 
year of the reign of Senusret III (1878-1841 bc) of the 12th Dynasty. The 
event is dated to the 16th day of the 4th month of the 2nd season in the 
7th year of the king. (There were only three seasons, not four, in ancient 
Egypt: inundation, sowing and harvest; then the cycle started again.) By 
calculating from the 'coincidences' of 1317 bc and 2773 bc, this rising 
can be fixed at 1872 bc. Another such sighting recorded occurred on the 
9th day of the 3rd month of the 3rd season in the 9th year of 
Amenhotep I (1551-1524 bc); this produces a date somewhere within a 
26-year range in the second half of the 16th century bc, since it cannot 
be quite so closely tied as the Senusret date. 

This shows just how fluid Egyptian chronology can be, essentially 
calculated on a structure of regnal years for each king (where known) 
and which, by counting backwards and forwards, are basically anchored 
to the three heliacal risings of Sirius mentioned. It is generally accepted 
that Egyptian chronology is on a firm footing from 664 bc, the beginning 
of the 26th Dynasty (Saite Period) and the reign of Psammetichus I. 
There are then outside links to the chronology of historical 
Mediterranean civilizations which become firmer as the full classical 
and Roman periods are reached. Margins of error in the dynasties prior 
to the 26th are variable,- whilst in the New Kingdom 20 years might be 
acceptable, this will increase as earlier periods are reached so that dates 
around the unification and in the Early Dynastic Period (Dynasties '0'-2) 
could be subject to fluctuations of anything between 50 and 200 years. 











wm&M^ ?; 




#;#;:, j?w 



iMmm^ ^ 




were they from Central Ahx< ^ wi 
the Fertile ( > es^ r \\ ] v„ T h<if .1st >rir- " 
&re all seem agreed that tt? ni.t 

■ v, . ci ^ aydf s 'ij u addle J 
Thinite kings. Whatever their origins, 
the p'jwt to n avc^ Lt. tc mould the 
the gap in time, that we can only spe 
on t omic sin 

t and n 
wir years, laid down j 

wcr ;ht ; a aneier 





0L n (!r 






■C ^^ ^ 




*» jt J? . 

-F Af 



16 The Early Dynastic Period 




jfj Narmer 


















Named after 

Horus name 

scorpion sign on 

Den ('Horus Who 





Horus name 

Horus name 

Narmer (The 

Anedjib ('Safe is 

Striking Catfish') 

His Heart') 



Horus name 

Horus name 

Hor-Aha ('The 


Fighting Hawk') 

('Thoughtful Friend') 



Horus name 

Horus name 

Djer ('Horus Who 

Qa'a ('His Arm is 




Horus name 

Djet ('Horus Cobra') 




Egyptian civilization begins, according to Manetho, with th 
Unification of the Two Lands, namely Upper and Lower Egypt, und^ 
one king. A date often used is c. 3100 bc, largely arrived at by workin. 
backwards from known astronomical dates, tied in with such early reg 
nal dates, or sequences, that are known (see above, p. 13). The essential 
question is, who was this first king who unified the two kingdom- 
Tradition ascribes this feat variously to Narmer or Menes, who may well 
have been one and the same person. There is also a king 'Scorpion 7 whol 
appears on the scene. Some would place him and Narmer sequentially ir 
a 'Dynasty O 7 , from c. 3150 to 3050 bc. 

The physical evidence for this comes from the discoveries c 
J.E. Quibell, excavating at Hierakonpolis in Upper Egypt, in 189 7-9> 
Hierakonpolis was the ancient city of Nekhen on the west bank of the 
Nile north of Aswan and dedicated to the falcon-headed god Horus. The 
site of the Early Dynastic town is known as Kom el-Ahmar, literally the 
'red mound 7 . Excavations here produced some remarkable finds, includ- 



1 1 1 1 1 








'Scorpion 7 and Narmer 17 

h the 
ly reg- 
• _ntial 
I who 
ally in 

les of 

of the 
- The 
ly the 


The Predynastic I 

End of the 4th millennium ec. 
Egyptian civilization entered the 
storical record. Prior to this there 
a been the so-ca stic 

: :;. from around 5000 until 
150 bc Its divisions are -generally 
imed. in archaeological fashion, 

leir eponymous sites, that is, 
ere they were first recognized, and 
essential framework is that of 

fgyptian sites. In oroad dates, 
Eadarian (named after el Radari) 
in around 5000 bc, the Am rati an 
kmra) about 4000 bc (its 
: cgy having now been refined 
-da I), Early Gerzean (Gerzah) 
I and Late Gerzean c. 3300 bc 
s two periods tailing into the 
\aqada II). 

il from the 'Scorpion 7 Macehead. 

: he king stands a diminutive 

ner holding out a basket, ready to 

. e the earth which the king has 

[ with his mattock. Behind the 

I are small figures holding a pair of 

ans and in front of him, above the 

et carrier, a file of people carrying 

^ht standards. Ashmolean Museum. 

ing a gold-headed hawk representing the town deity Horus, and an 
almost life-size, hollow-cast copper statue of Pepi I and his son Merenre 
of the 6th Dynasty (p. 66). The major find in relation to the Early 
Dynastic Period was made in a pit, labelled the 'Main Deposit 1 , located 
between the walls of an Old Kingdom and a later Middle Kingdom tem- 
ple. In the pit, Quibell found objects which have since proved to be the 
most important 'documents 7 of the Early Dynastic Period. The principal 
objects consisted of sculpted palettes and maceheads, although it is not 
totally clear from the excavators accounts whether the major piece, the 
Narmer Palette, was found here or in a level nearby. Representations on 
the pieces, and also early-style hieroglyphs, identified 'Scorpion 7 and 
Narmer. The objects had been deposited long after the period in which 
they were made, possibly over 1000 years later towards the end of the 
Old Kingdom. 

'Scorpion 7 and Narmer 

On the fragmented so-called 'Scorpion 7 Macehead, a king is seen in full 
ritual dress with the ritual bull's tail hanging from the back of his belt, 
wearing the tall White Crown [hedjet] of Upper Egypt and performing a 
ceremony using a hoe or mattock. Possibly he is opening the dykes ritu- 
ally to begin the flooding of the fields; or he could be cutting the first fur- 
row for the foundation of either a temple (here at Hierakonpolis) or of a 
city (as Roman emperors more than 3000 years later are depicted on 
coins ploughing the outline of a city at its foundation). Before the king's 
face, and therefore presumably signifying his name, is a scorpion with a 
seven-petalled flower above it. The decorative frieze around the remain- 
ing top of the macehead has lapwings hanging by their necks from verti- 
cal standards. This little bird, rekhyt in hieroglyphs, means 'common 
people 7 and their fate would seem to indicate that they have been over- 
come by the victorious King 'Scorpion 7 . 

Whatever the ceremony being performed, two things seem clear: King 
'Scorpion 7 , wearing the White Crown, is king only of Upper Egypt 
(unless the missing side of the macehead depicted him with the Red 
Crown, i.e. as king of Lower Egypt as well); and there has been a battle 
and the lapwings have been conquered. The interpretation must be, 
therefore, that the event is taking place before the unification of Egypt, 
placing 'Scorpion 7 before Narmer. 

Two major pieces from the 'Main Deposit 7 at Hierakonpolis refer to 
Narmer: the Narmer Palette and the Narmer Macehead. The Palette, a 












18 The Early Dynastic Period 

(Above left) The principal scene on the 
Narmer Palette, described in the text. 

(Above right) On the obverse of the 
Narmer Palette the king walks behind a 
procession of four standard-bearers 
towards two vertical rows of decapitated 
captives, five in each row, above whom 
there is a schematic boat with a cabin 
amidships and an apparent falcon 
standard on board as a totem. The 
central panel shows what is usually 
interpreted as evidence of early 
Mesopotamian art in Egypt, two four- 
legged serpopards, their necks entwined 
to form the cosmetic scoop, and held on 
leashes by two small retainers. Below all 
this, the lowest scene shows the king as 
a rampaging bull (one of the later royal 
titles was 'Strong Bull of Horns'), 
breaching the walls of a fortified town 
and a stricken enemy being crushed 
beneath his hooves. In a similar position 
on the other, reverse, side, two close- 
bearded foes are shown apparently 
drowning. Cairo Museum. 

monumental piece of dark green slate, is the earliest historical record 
from Egypt. It shows a victorious king whose name appears within a 
serekh - the early form of presenting royal names - at the head of both 
sides between facing heads of the cow-faced goddess Hathor. The hiero- 
glyphs of the royal name are a mud fish depicted horizontally above a 
vertical chisel, read as the name of Narmer. Narmer is shown in two 
aspects, wearing respectively the White Crown of Upper Egypt (the hed- 
jet) and the Red Crown of Lower Egypt [deshret], implying that he is now 
king of both lands. Later, the dual monarchy was to be shown by both 
crowns being worn together (p. 8), one inside the other, and forming the 
Crown of Upper and Lower Egypt (the shemty). The principal scene, i.e. 
the more dominant artistically, has a large figure of Narmer wearing the 
White Crown and smiting with upraised mace a prisoner whom he 
grasps by the forelock. This is the earliest occurrence of what was to 
become an 'icon of majesty 7 throughout the rest of ancient Egyptian his- 
tory, right down to Roman times (pp. 24, 217). However, this side of the 
Palette should be the reverse since, on the other side, is cut a shallow 
depression that indicates the humble antecedents of this magnificent 


1 1 
3010 3000 






Hor-Aha 19 

The King's Jubilee and 
the narmer macehead 

; ^ce for a jubilee or renew a! 
- :jal (the heb-sed -festival) first 

s on the Narmer Macehead 
retail, below; Ashmolean Museum, 
*: -d). The king is usually 

-sented wrapped in a ligMly 

I cloak (on an ivory statuette 

- Abydos it has a pattern o1 
■ges) and wearing either the Red 
~ as here) or the White Crown 
25. 29). The purpose of the 
estival was to renew the king's 
:y and the fertility or the land 
celebrated every 30 years, 
• ngs progressively shortened 
.arvais beiweer the jubilees s^ 
amesses II probably celebrated 
s 14th jubilee in Year 65/66 of his 
-g r eign. Part of the ritual involved 
« king running around a set course 
) markers are seen on the Narmer 
. ead as three vertical ellipses 
>fore the running figure). One of the 
'-". representations of this occurs 
n a relief panel in the South Tomb 
Djoser at Saqqara (p. 35), 

piece: it is the scoop in which cosmetic powder, probably green eye 
paint, kohl, was crushed. This must then be the upper or obverse side. 
Here the king is shown in the Red Crown, in smaller stature but still the 
dominant figure, being larger than any of the other participants. 

It is notable that on both sides of the Palette the king is shown bare- 
foot, with his tiny sandal-bearer (who also appears to have been his seal- 
bearer, to judge from the cylinder seal suspended around his neck) 
following behind carrying a pair of sandals and what might be a small 
water jar. The king is twice represented in obviously symbolic and ritual 
contexts and it may be that the events are taking place in a sacred area, 
and the king is ritually barefoot, rather like Moses some 1800 years later 
(Exodus 3:5). Certainly the god Horus is the king's god, on his side, for as 
a falcon he holds an enemy, ready for the king's attention, by a rope 
uncomfortably threaded through the captive's nostrils. 

The frontal face of the goddess Hathor is the dominant aspect of the 
top of both sides of the Palette, and must surely have deep significance 
in such a prime position. Although Horus was the god of Hierakonpolis 
(Nekhen), and it may be presumed that the principal temple was dedicat- 
ed to him, it is possible that he is shown on the Palette as the younger 
Horus who was the son of Hathor, which would explain his mother's 
dominant role in the Palette's religious iconography. To draw analogies 
from much later in Egyptian history, the two finest remaining temples 
(both from the Ptolemaic period, pp. 215, 217) are built on much earlier 
foundations and are respectively dedicated to Horus (at Edfu) and Hathor 
(at Dendera), and their rituals involved an exchange of processions 
between them. 

The Narmer Macehead also shows ritual scenes, principally the cele- 
bration of the heb-sed (jubilee) festival of renewal, where the king is seen 
seated, wrapped in the appropriate cloak (see left), within a pavilion. A 
cow (Hathor?) and her calf also have a prominent place in the iconogra- 
phy. The king here wears the Red Crown and his sandal-bearer is again 
in attendance, although the king's feet cannot be seen because of his 
ground-length ritual robe. 


The name of Narmer occurs on other objects, generally scratched on pot- 
sherds and the like, and we can be sure that he was a historical person- 
age. Hor-Aha, his successor, and therefore probably his son, possibly by 
Queen Nithotep, stood to inherit a unified kingdom, both by right and 



[;,*«" _) 






20 The Early Dynastic Period 

Ivory label from the tomb of Queen 
Nithotep at Naqada which has in the 
top line the Horus name of Hor-Aha 
(second from right) and his nebti name, 
Men, in front of it. British Museum. 

by conquest. He took the nebti name (the second royal name: 
p. 218) of Men, which means 'established 7 , and this could be the 
origin of the later record of the first king as being called Menes. 
For present purposes we may look on Hor-Aha as the first king 
of the 1st Dynasty. An interesting piece of evidence is a small 
broken ivory label found in the tomb of Queen Nithotep at 
Naqada. Although schematically represented, the busy scene on 
this tiny piece seems to show two humans celebrating a ceremo- 
ny called 'Receiving the South and the North 7 over an unidenti- 
fied object (possibly the first representation of the later symbolic 
tying of papyrus and lotus stalks). The king's name, meaning 
'Fighting Hawk 7 - an allusion again to Horus - indicates his 
Upper Egyptian origin and rule. His adoption of Men as his nebti name 
for ruling over both parts is indicated on the ivory label by the fact that 
his Horus name (his first and principal name, p. 218) Hor-Aha, and his 
nebti name, Men, appear side by side. Other similar small labels from 
Early Dynastic tombs indicate that his was not an easy reign. There were 
campaigns to be fought and rebels to be subdued in Nubia, recorded on a 
wooden label from Abydos, and another label records his foundation of a 
temple to the goddess Neith at Sais in the Delta. Her warlike aspect was 
signified by a pair of crossed arrows and her worship continued into 
Roman times when she was identified with Athena at Sais. 

[Below] Hor-Aha's Horus name, with 
the falcon Horus standing on a serekh, 
painted on a potsherd. British Museum. 

The founding of Memphis 

Hor-Aha's greatest achievement was the founding of the capital city at 
Memphis, just south of the apex of the Delta. This was to endure 
throughout Egypt 7 s history and become one of the greatest cities of the 
ancient world. The site was obviously chosen initially for its geographi- 
cal and thus political importance in a newly unified country, rather than 
its situation as a good building site, which it was not. Herodotus 
records (Bk 2: 99) that Menes dammed the Nile just south of the 
future site of the city, diverting it so that he could build on the 
reclaimed land. A strict watch was kept on the dam - the 
Persians, he said, strengthened it every year because, should it 
be breached, Memphis would have been overwhelmed. Recent 
deep soundings taken by the Egypt Exploration Society expedi- 
tion to Memphis have shown that the course of the Nile has 
been gradually moving eastwards in historical times. 

According to Manetho, Hor-Aha (there called Menes) reigned 
for 62 years and met his end when he was carried off by a hip- 
popotamus. He must have been of a great age and presumably 
out hippopotamus hunting. The Palermo Stone records a hip- 
popotamus hunt in the reign of Udimu (Den), later in the 
dynasty, and their savage attacks on crocodiles are represented 
in a number of reliefs in later Old Kingdom, 6th Dynasty tombs. 
After Memphis was founded the early Egyptian kings began to 
construct their tombs at the sacred site of Abydos in middle 

Hor-Aha 21 

c ^erekh used for royal names 
presents the 'palace facade' system of 
.r.clled brickwork, seen here in 
levation and plan views. 

Egypt and the nobles theirs on the edge of the desert plateau at Saqqara, 
overlooking Memphis. Controversy has raged as to whether the king 
built at both sites. Archaeological evidence is quite scarce with regard to 
specific attributions since the structures at both sites were badly dam- 
aged and heavily robbed throughout the ages. Those at Abydos were lit- 
erally ransacked by the Frenchman Amelineau and much evidence 
destroyed at the end of the last century. Flinders Petrie took over the re- 
excavation and recording of the site, recovering plans of the early sub- 
structures and the meagre yet often important leavings of the earlier 
robbers, such as the wood and ivory labels referred to. Professor W.B. 
Emery excavated the Saqqara site, mainly between 1936 and 1956 
(except for the war years). He, likewise, found only pitiful remains of 
once fine funerary provision. 

The tombs at Abydos and Saqqara are not decorated, so evidence of 
their owners can come only from material remains, largely in the form 
of seal impressions, rolled out from cylinder seals on the wet clay stop- 
pers of wine jars and the like. They may have the name of the high offi- 
cial responsible for the burial, on occasion a royal name, but it is not 
necessarily that of the tomb's occupant. In the light of recent analysis of 
the clay sealings, and the re-excavation of a number of the early tombs at 
Abydos by Professor G. Dreyer of the German Archaeological Institute, 
Cairo, Egyptological opinion now favours Abydos as being the site of the 
royal tombs. At Abydos there is also now recognized from the later 
Predynastic Period a sequence of tombs that leads into the early royal 
tombs and their evolution can be traced through the succeeding reigns. 
The large tombs at Saqqara are those of the nobles of the period; so 
mighty were some that it would seem they could, in several instances, 
emulate their royal masters and have satellite (sacrificial) burials associ- 
ated with their tomb. 

In the early cemetery at Saqqara, Emery located a large rectangular 
tomb (no. 3357) that he ascribed to Hor-Aha (but his tomb is now B 19 at 
Abydos). It had 27 storerooms at ground level for funerary equipment, 
and five rooms below ground. The mudbrick exterior was panelled all 
round in a style referred to as the 'palace facade 7 , which it resembles. 
This was to be copied later as a decorative element in jewellery (it is the 
lower half of the serekh, p. 18) and for the first time in stone nearby in 
the 3rd Dynasty complex of Djoser (p. 34). On the north side of the struc- 
ture, a brick-built pit had once held a wooden solar boat. At Abydos, in 
October 1991, a fleet of 12 boats dating from about 3000 bc were found 
buried side by side. The boats - the oldest surviving large-scale vessels in 
the world - were up to 100 ft (30 m) in length and their superstructures 
had been protected by mudbrick structures protruding slightly above the 
desert surface. Several individual, and now empty, boat pits were later 
provided around the Great Pyramid at Giza in the 4th Dynasty and one 
discovered there in 1954 was found still to contain a wooden boat (p. 49). 
All these boats and boat pits were presumably connected wih royal 
funerary ritual, although their precise function remains unknown. 

22 The Early Dynastic Period 

Hor-Aha's tomb at Abydos (B 19) is the largest in the north-western 
section of the cemetery, and another tomb close by produced small 
labels with the name Berner-Ib, literally 'Sweet-heart 7 . It is possible that 
the lady was Hor-Aha's queen, and her name also appeared on items 
from Naqada, the site of the great tomb of his possible mother, Queen 





An ivory label of Djer from Abydos that 
apparently refers to a journey made to 
the Delta city of Buto, one of Egypt's 
early capitals. British Museum. 

7T Q G) Q OG\ G\ 

It is possible that the schematic 
drawings on this small wooden label of 
Djer from Saqqara represent some form 
of human sacrifice being carried out 
before the Horus-topped seiekh in the 
first line. British Museum. 

Djer (probably Manetho's Athothis) succeeded Hor-Aha and is said to 
have reigned for 57 years. Once more, we rely on the evidence of the 
ivory and wood labels from Abydos and Saqqara for information. The 
hieroglyphs on all these labels are at an early stage in the development of 
writing and are often difficult to make out and prevent us from being 
positive as to their full meaning. One of these - an example in ivory from 
Abydos - has four lines of characters which include two ships, the sign 
for town and Djer's name in a seiekh. It appears to record a visit to the 
northern Delta cities of Buto, one of the early capitals of Egypt, and to 
Sais, already noted for its temple to the goddess Neith. The other label 
bearing his name, which is wooden and comes from Saqqara, seems to 
record some kind of religious event that may have involved human sac- 
rifice. In the early period of Egyptian history, sacrificial (satellite) burial 
occurred (as at the Royal Tombs of Ur in Mesopotamia), but this waste- 
ful practice was soon abandoned and, much later, mummiform figures 
called ushabtis were provided to perform the necessary menial tasks 
required in the next world. 

Around Djer's large tomb at Abydos (Tomb O) were over 300 satellite 
burials of retainers who had gone to the grave at the same time as the 
principal interment. Some of these were provided with simple wooden 
coffins and grave markers. Military expeditions were obviously still nec- 
essary since a schematic rock drawing near Wadi Haifa shows enemies 
cast into the water beneath the keel of a ship whilst another enemy is 
seen tied to the front of an Egyptian warship (just as Ahmose the admi- 
ral, son of Ebana, describes in his later tomb at el-Kab; below, p. 97). To 
one side Djer's Horus name is inscribed within a seiekh. 

Djer's successor is generally given as Djet (also referred to as Uadji) 
but it seems possible, to judge from the size (141 x 52 ft, 43 x 16 m) and 
location of a tomb at Saqqara (no. 3503) and a large tomb at Abydos 
(Petrie's Tomb Y), that there was a queen who either reigned alone 
between them or was later regent for a short period. The name on the 
large stone grave stele found at the Abydos tomb is Merneith, at first 
thought to be that of a king but later identified as a queen (consort of 
Djer). Her name has recently been found at Abydos on a clay seal impres- 
sion that gives the names of the early kings in order from Narmer to 
Den, confirming her status and giving her the title of 'King's Mother 7 , 
presumably of Den for whom she may have acted as regent during his 
minority. Around her Abydos tomb were 41 subsidiary burials of ser- 


iced small 
ssible that 
1 on items 
ler, Queen 

1 is said to 
■nee of the 

^ation. The 
lopment of 
from being 
ivory from 
is, the sign 
visit to the 
ypt, and to 
other label 
.i seems to 
human sac- 
llite) burial 
this waste- 
wm figures 
enial tasks 

00 satellite 
time as the 
pie wooden 
ly still nec- 
ns enemies 
:r enemy is 

1 the admi- 
', p. 97). To 

o as Uadji) 

c 16 m] and 

at Abydos 

gned alone 

ime on the 

ith, at first 

iconsort of 

eal impres- 

Narmer to 

's Mother', 

during his 

i.ils of ser- 

Dier's tomb in 1901, hidden in a hole 
de wall, one of Petrie's workmen 
covered a bandaged arm with four 
.'.I bracelets still within the 
rings. The arm must have belonged 
of the royal women since Djer's 
een, Merneith, had a large tomb 
"v. It was probably ripped from the 

ay by one of the early robbers, 
> then hid it and failed to collect it; 
_ently, it was missed by later 
bbers and the Amelineau 'clearance 7 . 
tree of the bracelets were composed of 
d amethyst, turquoise and lapis 
li beads; the fourth one, however, 
^ particularly interesting. It consists 
cold and 14 turquoise alternating 
.:es with a pair of gold cone end 
_ .-. The plaques are in the form of 
•rig's serekh, representing both the 
. ic and the ground plan of the royal 
liace (see pp. 20, 21 ), surmounted by 
: Horus falcon. Cairo Museum. 

it right) Queen Merneith's stele 
m Abydos. The crossed arrows are 
: emblem of the goddess Neith, part 
. queen's name. Cairo Museum. 

'.At) King Djet's stone funerary 
. c r'rom Abydos, 4 ft 8 inches ( 1 .43 m) 
has great strength and simplicity 
-ign. The royal serekh contains a 
v j hieroglyph and is surmounted by 
: Horus falcon. The 'palace facade' 
- zn in the lower half of the serekh 
:> out clearly (p. 21). Louvre, Paris. 

vants, the office of many of them in the queen's service being indicated 
by the grave's contents. 

Djet's tomb at Abydos is Tomb Z. The one at Saqqara (no. 3504), for- 
merly ascribed to the king and virtually twice the size of the Abydos 
structure, is now recognized as that of the noble Sekhem-kha, whose 
sealings were much in evidence in the debris. There was a number of 
subsidiary (sacrificial) burials made around both monuments, 174 at 
Abydos and 62 individual burials at Saqqara. Djet's great stone funerary 
stele from Abydos is a consummate piece of sculpture. The Saqqara 
tomb of Sekhem-ka (no. 3504) also produced surprises: running round 
the outer edge of the palace facade was a low bench with a series of about 
300 clay bulls' heads modelled in relief, each provided with a pair of real 
bull's horns. As previously mentioned (cf. Palette of Narmer, above), the 
bull was a potent symbol of royalty and it seems curious for it to be 
found decorating the plinth around a noble's tomb. 

With the next king, Den (or Udimu), the historical record becomes 
stronger. There are many labels and inscriptions on stone vases which 
cite this king and events in his reign. There is also an interesting correla- 
tion across to the Palermo Stone (p. 11). We can identify Den (Udimu) 
via his throne name, Semti, as king of the Two Lands [nsw-bt], with a 
king in the Abydos King List (p. 11) called Hesepti. From here we turn to 
Manetho for a correlation with his Usaphaidos with a reign of 20 years. 
On the Palermo Stone, with its annual records cited via principal events, 
there are several which tally with similar events known for Den from 

24 The Early Dynastic Period 

*° Jrd J 

-. - . 


Ivory label of Den from Abydos showing 
the king, with uplifted mace, smiting an 
Asiatic captive. He is identified by his 
Horus name in a serekh above the 
unfortunate foe. Note the Anubis- 
topped standard that precedes the scene. 
British Museum. 

surviving labels. Those on the Palermo Stone relate to an unidentified 
king, but run sequentially for 14 years and appear to refer to the later 
years of the reign. There is a fair probability, therefore, that the Palermo 
Stone sequence relates to Den, and the subsequent listings to his succes- 
sors. These we know to be Anedjib, Semerkhet and Qa 7 a in that order, 
for they appear thus following Den 7 s (Udimu 7 s) name on an inscribed 
stone vase from the galleries beneath the Step Pyramid at Saqqara. This 
sequence takes us to the end of the 1st Dynasty and has recently been 
confirmed by the sequence given on a clay sealing from Abydos. 

A particularly interesting ivory label from Abydos, inscribed for Den 
probably from a pair of sandals, records The first time of the smiting of 
the East 7 with Den shown, mace upraised in the classic pharaonic pos 
ture (p. 18), clubbing a foreign chieftain. This appears to correlate with 
the 'Smiting of the Troglodytes 7 recorded on the Palermo Stone, as the 
second year within a sequence of 14 years of an unidentified king. 

Professor W.B. Emery found a tomb (no. 3035) at Saqqara in 1935 that 
despite the numerous jar sealings present of Hemaka, the king's great 
chancellor, was at first thought by many to be the tomb of the king, Den 
by virtue of its great size and the magnificent finds. The tomb has now 
been reassigned to Hemaka. Although much destroyed, the collection of 
objects recovered, the largest group of excavated Early Dynastic mater i- 
al, was of supremely high quality. 

Den's Abydos tomb (Tomb Z, 62 x 49 ft/19 x 15 m) was much smalk 
than the Saqqara tomb previously ascribed to him (185 x 83 ft/56 x 25 rr 
and it had 1 74 satellite burials around it. On the grounds of architectural 
similarity, Emery considered that a badly destroyed tomb found at Giza 
almost as large as Hemaka 7 s at Saqqara, and which had the graves of sac- 
rificed servants around it, might be the tomb of Den 7 s queen, whose 
name is not known. 

Anedjib, Semerkhet and Qa ; a 

The next king of the 1st Dynasty reigned for 26 years, if we identify 
Anedjib with the Miebidos of Manetho. There is some evidence at this 
period of a dynastic struggle, of north versus south. Anedjib seems t 
have come from the area of Abydos known as This and is recorded as 
Thinite king on the Saqqara King List from the tomb of Thunery (p. 12 
Many stone vases bearing his name had their inscriptions erased under 
his successor Semerkhet, who was himself omitted from the Saqqan, 
List. The Saqqara tomb of the noble Nebitka, previously ascribed to 
Anedjib (no. 3038), has an interesting architectural feature, also present 
in the earlier Saqqara tomb of Queen Merneith. Concealed within the 
normal rectangular palace facade mastaba was the base of a steppe^ 
structure, a curious juxtaposition of two quite different forms. [Mastah. 
is an Arabic word for 'bench 7 , given to the early tombs since their low j 
flat form resembled the bench found outside the door of village houses 
Possibly here, and in the tomb of Merneith, we have the beginnings o: 

Anedjib, Semerkhet and Qa'a 25 

' Detail of a schist fragment 
*d with the names of Qa'a and 

: preceded by the sign ntr 
ithin an enclosure fence. Cairo 

The superbly carved limestone 
Qa'a shows the king embraced 
talcon-headed god Horus. It 
Iv came from Abydos since so 
>tele must surely have been 
ated with the king's tomb. Louvre, 





the fusion of southern and northern styles that was to lead, ultimately, 
to the Step Pyramid (pp. 33ff). 

Anedjib's tomb at Abydos (Tomb X) is one of the worst built and 
smallest amongst the Abydos royal tombs, a mere 53% x 29Vi ft 
(16.4 x 9 m), although it had a burial chamber constructed entirely in 
wood. The surrounding 64 graves of retainers were also of low standard. 

The next king Semerkhet, reigned for nine years according to the 
Palermo Stone, or 18 according to Manetho, who notes that there were 
numerous disasters during the reign. These may have been connected 
with the problems in relation to his predecessor, it having been suggest- 
ed that Semerkhet was in fact a usurper because he erased the name of 
his predecessor from stone vases and was himself omitted from the 
Saqqara King List. His tomb at Abydos (Tomb U) measures 95 x 101 3 A ft 
(29 x 31 m) and is vastly superior in size and quality to that of his prede- 
cessor, with its brick-lined burial chamber and the well-built servants 7 
graves. Unusually, no large tomb has been identified at Saqqara to his 

The last king of the 1st Dynasty, Qa'a (Qa'a-hedjet), may have reigned 
for 26 years, but Manetho's name of Bieneches, whom he gives as the 
last king of the dynasty, hardly equates with Qa'a. A large tomb found at 
Saqqara by Emery in 1954 (no. 3505) was ascribed to Qa'a, but we now 
believe it to be that of a priestly noble, Merkha, whose large limestone 
stele giving his name and titles has one of the longest texts extant from 
the period. The size of the tomb, 213 x 121 ft [6S x 37 m), was such that it 
led Emery to suggest that Merkha had been granted the honour of burial 
close to his royal master. 

The large tomb of Qa'a at Abydos (Tomb Q) was re-excavated in 1993 
by the German Archaeological Institute, Cairo. They revealed that the 
tomb had been subject to numerous alterations and enlargements, start- 
ing from a simple brick-lined burial chamber. Small by Saqqara compar- 
isons, only 98 ] /2 x 75 Vi ft (30 x 23 m), it also had a lesser number of 
satellite burials, only 26. It is notable that the practice of satellite (sacri- 
ficial) burials seems to have stopped in Qa'a's reign in the north, 
although some are still present, but not in such vast quantities, in the 
south at Abydos. 

Petrie assigned the tomb at Abydos to Qa'a not only from the usual jar 
sealings but also from two fragmentary stele he found on the east side of 
the tomb that gave Qa'a's Horus name in a serekh. A superb limestone 
stele of the king acquired by the Louvre in 1967 shows him wearing the 
tall White Crown of Upper Egypt and embraced by the falcon-headed 
Horus. The White Crown also forms part of his name within the serekh 
above the two heads, possibly indicating the final triumph of the south, 

A change of dynasty normally indicates a break in the line of the rul- 
ing house, yet Manetho tells us that the kings of the 2nd Dynasty also 
came from This, being Thinite kings, from near Abydos, as were the last 
kings of the 1 st Dynasty. 

26 The Early Dynastic Period 












Horus name 

Originally called 


(Horus name) 

('Pleasing in 



('Powerful in Heart') 

Later called (Seth 



Horus name 

Per-ib-sen ('Hope of 

Ra-neb ('Re is the 

all Hearts') 




Horus name 

Horus name 


Nynetjer ('Godlike') 

('The Two Powerful 

Ones appear') 

Manetho tells us that the 2nd Dynasty consisted of nine kings, ruling for 
302 years, but it is difficult to reconcile his statement with the surviving 
archaeological and written evidence. According to current thinking, six 
kings reigned in the 2nd Dynasty, which lasted little more than 200 
years. The names and sequence of the first three rulers are inscribed on 
the back of a statue of a priest called Hotep-dif (opposite). The names are 
right to left, Hotepsekhemwy, Raneb and Nynetjer. 

Hotepsekhemwy is little known. Sealings with his name have been 
found near the later 5th Dynasty pyramid of Unas at Saqqara and may 
indicate that the remains of his tomb are nearby. There is no evidence of 
his having built at the southern site of Abydos like his predecessors 
According to Manetho he had a long reign of 38 years, but there is littk 
to show for it. His successor Raneb had a slightly longer reign, 39 years 
if Manetho is to be believed, but, once again, only the tell-tale sealings in 
the same area of the pyramid of Unas might point to the location of his 
tomb. There is a granite stele from Abydos with his name in the usua^ 

An interesting point that Manetho adds about Raneb is that he intro- 
duced the worship not only of the sacred goat of Mendes but also of the 
sacred bull of Mnevis at the old sun-worship centre of Heliopolis, and 










Xeft) Portrait head detail of the 
.mestone statue of Khasekhemwy from 
Hierakonpolis. The king wears the 
White Crown of Upper Egypt and is 
enveloped in his heb-sed festival cloak 
19). Ashmolean Museum, Oxford. 

[Left] Kneeling statue of the priest 
Hotep-dif. His name appears in the 
inscription across the base of the statue 
together with a title that seems to read 
'Great of incense in the Red House 7 . He 
was presumably a priest at Saqqara of 
the mortuary cult of the three dead 
kings recorded on his right shoulder 
(above): Hotepsekhemwy, Raneb and 
Nynetjer. Cairo Museum. 

•w) The two seiekh names of 
hemib. The seiekh on the left is 
unmounted by a Horus falcon, but the 
lg later changed his name to a Seth 
tine and the falcon was replaced with 
►eth animal. His name then read as 


f Kft 




the Apis bull at Memphis. (In fact scholars now believe that an earlier 
king was responsible for founding the latter cult, which is attested on a 
stele dating from Den's (Udimu's) reign.) 

The third king, Nynetjer, ruled for 47 years according to Manetho's 
calculations. Little happened during most of these: the Palermo Stone 
records events between Years 6 and 26 of his reign, including various 
feasts of gods; a 'running of the Apis bull 7 in Year 9; a military campaign 
in Year 13 when there occurred the 'hacking up of the city of Shem-Re' 
and the 'House-of-the-North' ; and in Year 15 the birth of Khasekhemwy, 
next king but one. Manetho also adds that it was decided that women 
could occupy the throne, but Merneith had apparently pre-empted this 
in the previous dynasty. 

The fourth king of the dynasty came to the throne under the name of 
Sekhemib and reigned for 17 years. During his reign, however, the sim- 
mering rivalry between north and south reached boiling point once 
more, and a period of internal unrest ensued. The conflict was of a politi- 
co-divme nature, legitimized in part by the mythological struggle 
between the two gods Horus and Seth, who fought for control of the 
kingdom of Egypt. It was of the utmost significance, therefore, that 
Sekhemib dropped his Horus name in favour of a Seth name Seth- 






28 The Early Dynastic Period 

[Below] The plan of Khasekhemwy's 
tomb at Abydos is unique amongst its 
contemporaries both in shape and for its 
huge size. Until quite recently its stone- 
built central burial chamber was 
considered the oldest masonry 
structure, but building in stone is now 
known from the 1st Dynasty. 

Peribsen - indicating perhaps that the followers of Seth gained the uppc 
hand. Peribsen's granite funerary stele from Abydos is clear evidence c 
this change in allegiance, since the falcon above the serekh of his H< 
name has been replaced by the animal of Seth, with its pointed ear- 
later king, Khasekhemwy, was obviously a religious diplomat beca;.- 
he incorporated the names of both gods with his, and apparently rru 
aged to mollify both factions. 

Manetho inserts three kings between Peribsen and Khasekhenr 
Sethenes (Sendji), Chaires (Neterka) and Nephercheres (Neferkar^ 
reigning respectively for 41, 17 and 25 years. The evidence for thd 
kings is slight and archaeological remains are non-existem 
Khasekhemwy was the last king of the dynasty, although some auth I 
ties suggest that he had an immediate predecessor with a very simi 
name, Khasekhem. Others opine that they are one and the same pers 
who reigned for 30 years. According to this theory, Khasekhem change 
his name to Khasekhemwy after he had put down various rebellions 
thus united the land; meaning 'The Two Powerful Ones appear 7 , the nc 
name incorporated both the Horus falcon and the Seth animal on 

Prior to the restoration of peace, it appears that northern enen: 
struck south, since an inscription on a stone vase records: The yea: 
fighting the northern enemy within the city of Nekheb/ The vultu: 
goddess Nekhbet, shown in the inscription, was the patron deity 
Nekheb (now known as el-Kab) - on the opposite, eastern, bank of 
Nile to the ancient capital of the southern kings, Hierakonpt - 
(Nekhen) - and was much revered by the rulers of that city. The figh 
must have been desperate if northerners could get so far south and ini 
the capital city. The number of northerners killed is given as 47,209, rq 
resented as contorted bodies around the bases of two seated statue:* 
Khasekhemwy. The statues, one of schist and the other of limestor* 
come from Hierakonpolis and show the king closely wrapped in his hel 
sed cloak (p. 19). In both he wears the White Crown of Upper Eg\ : 
indicative of his victory over northern Lower Egyptian enemies. T> 
are each remarkable artistic studies at this early period. 

Khasekhemwy died in about 2686 bc, and his huge tomb at Abydc - 
unique: it is trapezoidal in shape, 230 ft (70 m) in length and varyi: 
from some 56 ft (17 m) wide at one end to 33 ft (10 m) at the other, wit 
stone-built burial chamber almost in the centre. The robbers missed o 
prize item in their looting - the king's sceptre of gold and sard, as well 
several beautifully made small stone pots with gold-leaf lid covering 











ove) Two of the small dolomite 
-tone pots with thin gold-leaf lids 
1 by twisted gold wire from the tomb 
.hasekhemwy at Abydos. British 

.::' One of a pair of limestone seated 
itues of Khasekhemwy from 
nakonpolis (shared between Cairo 
I Oxford, p. 26). The schematic 
rpglyphic inscription around the base 
rords his success as king of Upper 
vpt (he wears the White Crown) over 
jr Egyptian enemies. Cairo 

ow) Clay jar sealing, reading left to 
t, giving Queen Nemathap the title 
ving-bearing Mother 7 . 


About 1000 yards away from the tomb in the desert at Abydos is the 
Shunet el-Zebib, a vast rectangular mud-brick structure, 404 x 210 ft 
( 123 x 64 m). Its walls, with their articulated palace facade, are up to 16 ft 
(5 m) thick and almost 66 ft (20 m) high; they are an incredible survival, 
being nearly 5000 years old. It is not known what the exact purpose of 
the building was, much as it may look like an impressive fort. 
Excavations revealed evidence of complicated internal buildings, and it 
may have been connected with the provision made for the king's ka 
(soulJ in his tomb nearby. 

As the dynasty ends with Khasekhemwy so, through him, the next 
one starts. He apparently married a northern princess to cement the 
good relations between the followers of Horus and Seth. She was called 
Nemathap and a jar-sealing gives her title as 'The King-bearing Mother 7 . 
Later ages saw her as the ancestral figure of the 3rd Dynasty, much as 
Queen Aahotep was regarded as ancestress of the New Kingdom. 






^r^v; ? \;?. 



nm&^n- ;:, 


^TWW : : 



::M' P4A: :;::v- -,. ; 




■ . • 

'■■:■': > r &:'.i-- ?■■ ..'"v':' : ';-..' : 

tion, which r 


Pyramid at S^ 


and the fame 


king, Khafre ( 

eilj, cllvr c 



structures m 

s 1 

Dynasty saw 


might of loca 

, |V-.i^ii5,s 

itl'Ul 1 ifciwii 

LEI. IjtS.tlX-l^^U .::■:/ 

t -'iiAei^, *wx,f.. y ■ ■ . 










4 / 

1 1 i 

1 1 



DYNS. /& 8 

■. :-.- 








1 1 

2200 2150 





32 The Old Kingdom 






Horus name 

Horus name 

Sa-na-khte ('Strong 

Netjeri-khet ('Divine 


of the Body') 

Also known as 

Also known as 


Zoser, Tosorthos 


Fragment of a sandstone relief from the 
Wadi Maghara in Sinai with Sanakhte's 
name in a serekh before his face. His 
smiting attitude closely parallels that of 
King Den (p. 24). British Museum. 






Life-size statue of Djoser, found in 
the serdab of his pyramid complex. 
His royal nemes headcloth is worn 
over a heavy wig which frames his 
strong face. The face is rendered 
even more remarkable by the 
depredations of the ancient robbers, 
who tore out the eyes of inlaid rock 
crystal, alabaster and obsidian 
which had given it an eerie life-like 
appearance. Cairo Museum. 


The first king of the 3rd Dynasty, Sanakhte (also given as Nebka) is lit- 
tle known, despite a reign of some 18 years. Presumably the foundation 
of the dynasty was cemented by marriage with the female heir of th 
last king of the 2nd Dynasty, the matrilineal nature of ancient Egyptian 
society being evident from very early times. Sanakhte is thought to b 
the brother of his famous successor Djoser (or Zoser), who became th. 
second king of the dynasty and built the Step Pyramid at Saqqara. Botr 
these kings began the exploitation in earnest of the mineral wealth c 
the Sinai peninsula, which was particularly rich in turquoise and cop- 
per. A fragment of a large red sandstone relief from the Wadi Maghara, 
Sinai, shows the figure of the king wearing the Red Crown of Lowe: 
Egypt and about to smite a foe - a posture that was already well estab- 
lished by this early dynasty. 


Both Sanakhte and Djoser, when he succeeded to the throne, apparent!', 
still had internal political problems to overcome. Djoser probably man- 









ve) Inscription no. 81 is carved on 
highest point of the island of Sehel. 
lemaic forgery purporting to be of 
Dynasty date, it shows the king, 
oser, before the triad of gods of 

:antine: Khnum, his wife Satet and 
: daughter Anuket. Interestingly, it 
• j- an early reference to seven years 
ramine in Egypt. 

owj Djoser's name and titles appear 
veen the died pillar and tyet amulet, 

-. ed by Imhotep's titles beginning 
: Treasurer of the King of Lower 
on this broken-off statue base. 

Djoser 33 

aged to extend his rule as far south as Aswan, the First Cataract, later 
the official southern boundary of Egypt. The name 'Djoser 7 in fact 
appears only in later records, and may have been his birth name. At the 
time he was known by his Horus name Netjerikhet, the name inscribed 
on all his monuments, including his Step Pyramid complex at Saqqara. 
While the two names are associated together at the Step Pyramid (New 
Kingdom graffiti there mention Djoser), the earliest proof that the 
names belong to the same king comes from a long inscription on a large 
rock on the island of Sehel at Aswan. The inscription is a Ptolemaic 
forgery cut by the priests of the god Khnum of Elephantine, and lays 
claim to some 85 miles (137 km) of territory south of Aswan known as 
the Dodekaschoinoi, 'in the god's name', it having been granted by 
Djoser. The priests of the goddess Isis on the nearby island of Philae, 
however, believed that Djoser had given the land to them. Both claims 
were probably untrue, but each side evidently considered that Djoser's 
promise had some ancient and lasting validity, endowing the king with 
substantial historical importance. The land grant was said to be in 
response to the local god Khnum terminating a seven-year-long 
drought, and associated famine. 

The tombs of officials from the previous dynasties had lined the edge 
of the plateau at Saqqara, looking out over the cultivation towards the 
royal capital of Memphis. Being low mastabas, they appeared only as a 
series of low mounds on the skyline. Djoser decided to move his monu- 
ment back from the escarpment edge by about a mile (1.6 km), and 
there commenced a grandiose complex that was to be an architectural 
first: the famous Step Pyramid. 

The Step Pyramid of Saqqara 

Today, Djoser's pyramid and its surrounding mortuary complex is rec- 
ognized as the first stone building in the world. (Although stone had 
been used for certain features in earlier tombs, this was the first to be 
constructed entirely of stone.) The genius who produced this vast mon- 
ument for Djoser was his vizier, Imhotep, who seems to have been a 
man of many parts. His high standing at court is indicated in the 
inscription on the base of a broken-off statue of Djoser where, after the 
name of the king, Imhotep's titles read: 'The Treasurer of the King of 

- *-- / - . •• » ■ % ■■■ 

S C • ■- mwm i , . -;£ 

* ~ ,/* iff will f 

I 7 7 h U "I 




[Above] The temenos wall surrounding 
Djoser' s Step Pyramid complex can only 
be entered at one point: here. The other 
13 doors around the pyramid are all 

[Below] Replica of the statue of King 
Djoser which sits within the seidab, 
gazing out at curious visitors through a 
pair of small eyeholes; the original is 
preserved in the Cairo Museum (p. 32). 

Lower Egypt, the First after the King of Upper Egypt, Administrator ot 
the Great Palace, Hereditary Lord, the High Priest of Heliopolis. 
Imhotep the builder, the sculptor, the maker of stone vases../ 

The whole concept of Djoser's funerary monument was that of ar 
area for the spirit, focused on the pyramid itself. This began life as a nor- 
mal mastaba, but was subsequently subject to several major enlarge- 
ments, adding one mastaba upon another, until it consisted of six 
unequal steps rising to 204 ft (62 m). Its base area is 358 x 411 ft (109 x 
125 m). The substructure is a honeycomb of shafts and tunnels, several 
of them dug by robbers which are difficult to distinguish from those 
original tunnels left unfinished. Vast quantities of stone vases wer. 
found beneath the pyramid, many of exquisite form and artistry, a num- 
ber of them bearing the names of earlier kings. Perhaps Djoser added 
these vases to his monument as an act of piety towards his predeces- 
sors, to save their funerary goods as best he might. A mummified left 
foot found in one of the passages may be the only remains of the king. 
Other members of the royal family were buried in some of the shafts 
and tunnels, one being a young child of about eight years old found in a 
fine alabaster coffin. The various enlargements of the ground plan of the 
pyramid finally meant that these other tombs were all sealed beneath 
its expanding structure with no access. A new entrance to the king's 
actual burial chamber, cut from Aswan granite and plugged with a 
three-ton stopper after the burial, was dug^from the north. 

Close to this northern entrance stands the seidab (Arabic for Cellar' 1 
a box-like structure of finished Tura limestone with a pair of smaL 
holes pierced through its front-facing slope. This was found during the 
excavations of CM. Firth and was a complete surprise. Within the 


Right) In one of the galleries deep below 
the South Tomb of Djoser's Step 
Pyramid complex the king, wearing the 
White Crown, runs eternally in the heb- 
sed festival ceremonies. 

seidab was a painted limestone, life-size seated figure of Djoser the old- 
est royal sculpture of this scale known from Egypt. It represents the 
king closely wrapped in a long white cloak, probably that used in the 
king's ,ubilee or heb-sed festival (p. 19). Food offerings and incense 
would have been placed on an altar before the two small eyeholes in the 
wall of the seidab, enabling the ka (the spirit of the king) to partake of 
the spirit substance - whilst, at the end of the day, the mortuary priests 
could enjoy the material substance oi the offerings. 

The mortuary complex 

Facing the pyramid on the south side of the enclosure is the so-called 
South Tomb. Three carved relief panels set within the frames of its false 
doors show the king performing the heb-sed ritual, in which he re- 
affirmed his fitness to rule. On one panel he wears the tall White Crown 
and a ribbed ritual beard as he runs the requisite course. This also serves 

36 The Old Kingdom 

The Gen^s of MKOTEr 


A Late ° site of 

Imhotep, r,is oaovrus scro/i ooer inns*- 
his knees. Cj> j Museum 

Imhotep is most famous as Djoser's 
chief =*rrn test, and indeed is one ol 
the fe. , mihitoots to be 

known o us by name. He was also a 
mar. o, great wisdom and 
scholarship, revere? as a sc'be, 
counsellor, doctor, priest and 
astronomer, and was later to De 
deitied in the late H< j into 

classical times he was oped 

as a guo oi architecture and 
medicine, ir i he 'a T Tei 'nsi^nr^ o-„ing 

sa with the od of 

medicine, Asclepius [ s made 

pilgrimages to Saqqara where 
lmhote h must n?ve been buried 
lalnough his tomb is not known) and 
left votive offerings usually wrapped 
=mr mummifi-o i^ ses the birr 

with him and Thoth, 
hp Por of wis-iom, writing and 
lea.nmg Ibises in their pottery 
contair e found in their 

thousands by Professor W.B. Emery 
in the sacred animal necropolis to 
the north-east o1 the Step Pyramid 


V I 


Valley Temple / 
of Unas p~™ 

100 200 300 m 

I HH \ 

500 1000 ft 

to underline the wholly ritualistic nature of the entire complex tha: 
Imhotep created for his master. 

It is believed that the South Tomb also served as the burial place fo: 
Djoser's viscera, which were removed during the embalming process. 
With his mummy buried in the pyramid, the king thus fulfilled the 
requirement of having a northern and southern tomb, symbolic of tru 
Two Lands of Upper and Lower Egypt. 

Between the South Tomb and the pyramid lies a wide courtyard with 
a complex of buildings on the east side known as the heb-sed court - 
over the last 30 years in particular, this court has gradually been 
restored. Like everything else in the complex its structures are false 
dummy buildings, which made perfectly good sense since it was intend- 
ed as the place of the spirit. The whole complex was surrounded by ;. 
high temenos wall of white limestone blocks in the form known as the 
'palace facade 7 ; thirteen false or dummy doorways were set into it 
while a fourteenth actually opened into the inner area. This doorway 
led into a long colonnaded hall of fluted columns, none of which were 
freestanding, all of them being engaged into a supporting wall behind, 
them, exemplifying the initial, faltering steps of architecture in stonL 
taking over from mudbrick and imitating the organic forms of earlier 
styles. The fine fluting on the columns immediately recalls the Greek 
Doric column, but that comes almost 2000 years later. This hall in turn 
opens on to the large court on the south side of the pyramid, containing 
two Jubilee festival altars whose bases only survive. 

Along the east side of the court are a series of three heb-sed shrines 
or pavilions that face a narrower court which runs inside the eastern 
wall. Close to the southernmost heb-sed shrine is a large podium with ; 
pair of round-fronted steps which was the base for the pair of back-te 
back tents with curved roofs that were an integral part of the heb-se,. 

Djoser 37 

The South Tomb is approached by 
a steeply sloping shaft to a series 
of small, finely decorated 
: -ambers, now in fragile 
:ondition. Its significance is not 

ear, but it was probably the 
Durial place of the king's viscera 

Mortuary temple and king's 

The area to the north of the Step 
Pyramid still awaits clearance 

False entrances 

Colonnade entrance 

The heb-sed court, used for the 
jubilee festivals of the king, is 
faced by a series of barrel-vaulted 
dummy shrines 

The House of the North and the 
House of the South are two major 
buildings within the complex 
whose purpose is totally 
unknown. It has been suggested 
that they symbolized the king's 
rule over Upper and Lower Egypt 

Above left) Plan of the Saqqara 

Above) Djoser's Step Pyramid complex 
It Saqqara. 

Below) The doorway, merely a shallow 
entry, to the House of the North is 
-.inked by a pair of engaged Doric- 
oking columns and surmounted by a 
'ized khekher frieze that first appears 
as a fence delineating a sacred area on 

::ie of the small ivory labels from 

festival and which, in a schematic form, became the hieroglyph that 
stood for the festival. These pavilions all have doorways, but they only 
penetrate the facade for a short distance and lead nowhere. Three unfin- 
ished, roughly blocked-out standing statues of Djoser have been placed 
to one side of this court. They show the king in ritual pose wearing a 
nemes headcloth, long beard, and holding the flail and sceptre. To the 
north of this court is another, whose dummy buildings once again 
reflect the division of the Two Lands. The first structure is known as 
the House of the South and has a stylized khekher frieze over its door- 
way - a stylized protective fence motif which, like so many that first 
appeared in the early periods, continued to be used for centuries, if not 
millennia. The khekher frieze is particularly noticeable in the tombs of 
the 18th Dynasty pharaohs in the Valley of the Kings. 

The House of the North is noted for its papyrus columns with large 
umbels, all of which are engaged in the supporting wall, but which also 
have the triangular-sectioned papyrus stems reproduced correctly in the 
small limestone blocks,- later, in the New Kingdom, this accuracy is lost 
in favour of large, heavily rounded columns. 

The death of Djoser 

Djoser was succeeded by Sekhemkhet in about 2649 bc, after a reign of 
roughly 19 years. This scarcely seems long enough for the construction 
of a monument as remarkable as the Step Pyramid, but it is powerful 
testimony to the authority of the king. To build such a structure would 
have required a vast workforce, not to mention a strong government to 
organize and feed the workers. Djoser's funerary complex stands at the 
head of a long line of Egyptian stone architecture. Within it many of the 
later building forms and styles are first seen, admittedly in an experi- 
mental stage, to be copied or refined over the next 2000 years. 

38 The Old Kingdom 










[Right] Red granite head attributed to 
Huni. Brooklyn Museum. 




Horus name 

Horus name 



('Powerful in Body') 

(The Smiter') 


Horus name 


(The Soul Appears') 


Relief in the Wadi Maghara with three 
representations of Sekhemkhet proceed- 
ing to the right. Two of them wear the 
tall White Crown and have their names 
in a serekh before their faces; the middle 
king wears the Red Crown. 

According to Manetho, the remaining six kings of the 3rd Dynasty were 
of no account, although he gave them a combined total of around 15" 
regnal years. Little is actually known of these kings, now generally 
thought to have been only three in number and with a joint reign span of 
about 36 years. 

Prior to 1951 virtually nothing was known of Djoser's successor, 
Sekhemkhet. A relief in the Wadi Maghara in Sinai bears his name 
(although it had formerly been mistakenly attributed to Semerkhet, last 
but one king of the 1st Dynasty) and evidences the military interest of 
the 3rd Dynasty pharaohs in the area. The last king in the relief is 
engaged in the age-old motif of grasping foes by the hair with his left 
hand and bringing a pear-shaped mace crashing down on them with his 
upraised right hand. The 'icon 7 of 'smiting' the dwellers in the desert, the 
bedu, had already appeared in the 1 st Dynasty and this is just one more 
instance of it (p. 24). 

Information about Sekhemkhet increased dramatically, however, in 
1951, when an Egyptian archaeologist named Zakaria Goneim discov- 
ered an unfinished step pyramid at Saqqara attributed to the king. 








Sekhemkhet 39 

Below) The deep sloping trench on the 
north face of the unfinished pyramid of 
sekhemkhet that leads down to the 
pyramid entrance. 

y were 
id 157 

•pan of 

pt, last 
rest of 
flief is 
us left 
ith his 
:rt, the 
t more 

r er, in 


The buried pyramid 

In March 1951, Goneim was appointed Chief Inspector of Saqqara. 
Intrigued by the fact that there was apparently only one 3rd Dynasty 
monument here (Djoser's Step Pyramid), he carefully surveyed the site 
and its ground features. To the south-west of Djoser's enclosure wall lay 
an oblong plateau or terrace recorded on the maps as a natural feature. 
Goneim was suspicious of the quantity and distribution of fragments of 
worked stone (granite, limestone and alabaster) lying about on it: there 
was too much for the terrace to be natural, added to which there were 
occasional small outcrops of rubble masonry. 

So in late September 1951, Goneim began to investigate one of these 
outcrops. His efforts revealed a rubble-coursed masonry wall which, 
when cleared, was found to be 27 ft (8.2 m) deep, sitting on bedrock. 
Eventually an enormous platform was identified, roughly 1700 ft (518 m) 
on its long axis (north-south), and 600 ft (183 m) wide. This had formed a 
base upon which an enclosure wall of the 'palace facade' type, similar to 
Djoser's, had been built. This great work had been left unfinished, pre- 
sumably because Sekhemkhet died after a reign of only about six years - 
shortly after construction had begun. Had it been completed, it would 
probably have risen in seven steps to a height of around 230 ft (70 m) - 
taller by one step and c. 16 ft (4.9 m) than Djoser's Step Pyramid. 

The pyramid platform was especially well preserved on the north 
side, and it was from here that a deep, sloping rock-cut trench was locat- 
ed which led down to an entrance, a sealed doorway, that was opened in 
March 1954. Large areas of the entrance passageway were blocked by 
rubble debris which was extremely unstable, dangerous and difficult to 
clear. At the base of the blocking to the passage was found a small cache 
which included 21 gold bracelets and armlets, a hollow gold tube and an 
exquisite small gold box in the shape of a bivalve shell, all apparently 
having been deposited together in a now perished wooden box. A large 
diorite bowl was nearby. The group seems to have been deliberately 
placed where it was found, rather than abandoned or dropped as robber's 

The name of the owner of the complex was revealed when five small 
clay jar sealings were found, impressed by a cylinder seal with the name 
of Sekhemkhet. Eventually - after clearing more of the dangerous block- 
ing - a large, cavernous, unfinished burial hall was reached in the centre 
of which stood a rectangular sarcophagus of translucent alabaster cut 
from a single block. Close examination of the area and various passage- 
ways nearby showed no evidence of robbers' intrusions after the tomb 
had been sealed. 

In June 1954, almost three years after work had begun, the sarcopha- 
gus was carefully opened, the sliding panel raised with difficulty because 
the original gypsum mortar sealing held it tight in place. To the great 
astonishment of the invited audience of scholars and journalists, the 
interior was completely empty and a shock to which there was no ready 
answer. The sarcophagus had definitely not been robbed; the only expla- 


40 The Old Kingdom 

[Above] The pyramid of Meydum, 
looking up its causeway from the east 
with the small mortuary temple at the 
foot of the pyramid's face. 

[Below] Sekhemkhet's sarcophagus is of 
a form unique amongst royal sarcophagi 
because it was not closed with a lid but 
had a T-shaped sliding panel set in its 
northern end. This still bore traces of 
the plaster that had sealed it in position 
and there were organic remains on top 
of it, possibly of a shrub or similar plant. 


nation possible was that the king had been buried elsewhere, possibly 
even in the labyrinthine passages of which many have yet to be explored. 

Khaba and Huni 

The last two kings of the 3rd Dynasty did not use Saqqara as the royal 
burial ground. Sekhemkhet's successor Khaba built his pyramid - the so- 
called Layer Pyramid - at Zawiyet el-Aryan, a mile south of Giza. This 
seems to have been intended as a step pyramid, with six or seven steps 
and a rock-cut entrance on the north side. Similar construction tech- 
niques and layout to Sekhemkhet's monument place it in a chronologi- 
cal sequence after his (and not in the 2nd Dynasty as had been suggested 
many years ago, before the parallel evidence at Saqqara was known). 
Khaba's name was recovered, written in red ink, on several stone vessels 
from 3rd Dynasty mastabas close by. It would appear that the monu- 
ment was never used. 

Huni, the fifth and last king of the 3rd Dynasty, made an even more 
drastic move for his burial site. He erected his monument at Meydum on 
the edge of the Faiyum, 50 miles (80 km) south of Cairo. Today the pyra- 
mid rises as a gaunt, almost pharos-like structure just beyond the edge of 
the cultivation. It was the first pyramid to have a square ground plan and 
was intended to be the first that was geometrically 'true'; loose packing 
stones were added to the steps before the whole was encased in white 
Tura limestone. Now it has three (of an original seven) tall steps at a 
steep angle of 74 degrees, and rises to about 214 ft [65 m). The present 
shape has resulted from the collapse of the outer 'skins 1 of the casing in 
antiquity, due to the lack of bonding between them. Exactly when this 
collapse occurred has been the subject of some controversy: Kurt 
Mendelssohn suggested that it took place during the building of the 
South or Bent pyramid of Snefru (the first king of the 4th Dynasty) at 
Dahshur and that both pyramids were being built concurrently,- others 
believe that it was during the New Kingdom, since there are 18th 
Dynasty visitors 7 graffiti in the small east face mortuary temple. 

In the New Kingdom the Meydum pyramid was obviously thought tc 
have been built by Snefru, since the mortuary temple graffiti mention 
his name, referring to 'the beautiful temple of King Snefru'. This is clear- 
ly somewhat exaggerated since it is a small, plain and windowless struc- 
ture with just the two large, upright and round-topped funerary stele, 
both uninscribed and unfinished, standing either side of a low altar in 
the small courtyard between the back of the temple and the pyramid's 
east face. Snefru also has two other pyramids 28 miles (45 km) north of 
Meydum at Dahshur (p. 43), and it is highly unlikely that he would have 
had three: two are unusual enough. It is now generally agreed that the 
Meydum pyramid was built for Huni, but that it was basically finished 
by his son-in-law and successor, Snefru. 

Meydum presents us with the first occurrence of what was to become 
the norm for the layout of a pyramid complex. This consists of the pyra- 

t Above) The curious lighthouse-like 
shape of the Meydum pyramid 
iominates both the desert in which it 
stands and the nearby agricultural land. 
debris from its collapse surrounds its 
- .ise, seen in the closer view of the 
mortuary temple [opposite above). 

Below) Detail of the head of the 
princess Nofret, seated on the left of her 
husband, Rahotep, in a pair of statues. 
.c floral decoration on her diadem, the 
anal probably of silver, reflects the 
mcient Egyptian delight in nature. 
Cairo Museum. 

mid itself, with an entrance on the north face which gives access, via a 
descending passage, to a burial chamber normally located in the bedrock 
or at ground surface within the mass. There can be more than one cham- 
ber, and at different levels, within this group. On the east face of the 
pyramid is a small pyramid or mortuary temple. From this a causeway 
runs down to the edge of the cultivation where the valley temple is 
located. Very fine reliefs are usually a feature of the later examples of 
these buildings. At Meydum, the valley temple has never been excavat- 
ed and is presumed to lie in a small cluster of palm trees at the lower end 
of the now much denuded causeway on the edge of the agricultural land. 

Curiously, there is no evidence of there ever having been a stone sar- 
cophagus in the subterranean burial chamber. This has led to specula- 
tion that the burial was made in the large, unidentified mastaba number 
17 on the north-east side of the pyramid, where there is a typical Old 
Kingdom, uninscribed granite sarcophagus whose heavy lid has been 
eased to one side by tomb robbers. 

In two of the mastaba tombs of nobles in the court of Huni to the 
north and east of the pyramid, the French Egyptologist Auguste Mariette 
discovered in 1371 some of the great masterpieces of Egj T ptian art: the 
Meydum geese and the pair statues of Rahotep and Nofret. The three 
pairs of realistic and beautifully painted geese on a frieze were found in 
the tomb of Nefer-Maat and Atet. The solemnity of the faces on the stat- 
ues of Rahotep and Nofret from their mastaba contrasts with the expres- 
sions on the faces of lesser mortals - here, confidence in their 
immortality by virtue of their connections is well expressed. Amongst 
Rahotep's titles is that of 'king's son 7 - he may have been a son of Snefru 
- and his wife Nofret was 'one known to the king 7 . 

The 24 years or so of Hum's reign ended in about 2613 bc, and with it 
the 3rd Dynasty drew to its close. 

42 The Old Kingdom 





fi/'rt/i name 


Snefru ('He of 

Hetep-heres 1 



Also known as 

Khufu (Cheops) 

Sneferu, Snofru, 


Soris (Manetho) 

North (Red) 


pyramid, Dahshur 



Meresankh 1 


Birth name 


Khufu ('Protected 

unknown queen 

by [Khnum]') 


Also known as 

Djedefre, Kawab, 


Khafre (Chephren), 

(Greek), Suphis 1 

Djedefhor, Banefre, 


Khufu kaef 




Hetep-heres II, 


Meresankh II, 

Hetep-heres 1 

Khamerernebty 1 



Unknown queen, 

Great Pyramid, Giza 




Khufu (Cheops) 


[Left) Cartouche of Khufu on a relief 
originally from Giza. 

[Right] This tiny, 3-inch (7.6-cm) high 
ivory sculpture of Khufu found at 
Abydos shows the king seated on a 
throne, holding a flail in his right hand 
against his right shoulder, and wearing 
the Red Crown of Lower Egypt. The 
cartouche on the left side of his throne 
is broken away, but fortunately his 
Horus name remains on the right side 
to identify him. Cairo Museum. 

' 7 *V 


After the founding of the 4th Dynasty by Snefru c. 2613 bc, more histor- 
ical records and portraits of royalty have survived. Snefru married the 
previous king Huni's daughter, Hetep-heres, who was to find great fame 
as the mother of Khufu (p. 49). Manetho says (according to Eusebius) 
that the dynasty consisted of 17 kings of Memphis who reigned for a 
total of 448 years (the Africanus version gives only 8 kings and 277 
years). The kings of the 3rd Dynasty were also Memphite, but it is 
specifically said of the 4th Dynasty that, although of Memphis, they 
were of a different royal line. It would appear that Snefru's marriage to 
Huni's daughter brought the two lines together, but it was a sufficient 
break in Manetho's eyes to constitute a new dynasty. He identifies the 
first king as Soris (= Snefru) who reigned for 29 years, although present 
opinion is more in favour of about 24 years. Snefru was a son of Huni, 
probably by a minor wife called Meresankh. By marrying Hetep-heres, 
who presumably carried the royal blood as the daughter of a more senior 
queen, he consolidated his claim to the throne. Snefru was probably 
therefore Hetep-heres 7 half-brother. Huni is the last king of the 3rd 
Dynasty in both the Royal Canon of Turin and the later Saqqara List. 



► C rY3 












Snefru 43 

Right) On the horizon to the south of 
^.iqqara the pyramids of Dahshur stand 
,:: clearly. On the right is the North or 
1 Pyramid; centre, a mile further on, 
- Bent Pyramid, both built by Snefru. 
. low oblong building on the far left 
■> the 'Mastabet el-Fara'un' and next to 
: the low remains of the pyramid of 
epi II, both located at south Saqqara. 


The Lady of the Lake 

~-e Westcar Papyrus (now in Berlin), 
sn much later during the Hyksos 
3d, mentions Snefru as ar 
able pharaoh, A story recounted 
s> Prince Bauefre, a son of Khufu 
Cieops), tells how Snefru, 
"dering one day through the 
;aiace in a state of boredom, called 
re chief lector priest, Djadja-em- 
i, to provide a solution. The 
st suggested that the king should 
:<e taken out on the lake, rowed by 
3 of the younger palace ladies, 
e beauties who are in the 
:e chamber'. Snefru thought this 
eel lent idea, and improved on it 
. commanding, 'Let there be 
'ought to me twenty nets, and let 
ese nets be given to these women 
;ney have taken off their 
es ... and ... the heart of His 
sty was happy at this signt ot 
owing.' (This must be the first 
-.-:orded use of 'fish-net' in an erotic 
next, later to be taken over by 

L nfortunately the excursion came 




abrupt halt when one of the 
bs lost her fish-shaped 
-oise charm from her tog 
es and refused to continue. The 
offered to replace it, but she 
rted her original piece back. There 
5 nothing for it but to summon 

-em-ankh to the rescue again, 
s time in his capacity as a 

an. He immediately caused the 

s of the lake to part and 

eved the missing bauble, found 
: :-n a potsherd at the bottom, 
d all was well and the rowing 
". "iued. 

There are records, principally from the Palermo Stone, of Snefru's 
expeditions beyond the boundaries of Egypt - to the Lebanon to fetch 
the great cedar logs needed for temple doors and great ships, and to Sinai 
for turquoise. Although there is evidence as early as the 1st Dynasty of 
expeditions to Sinai, Snefru seems to have become particularly associat- 
ed with the area, and was worshipped there as a god according to a 
much later inscription left in the Wadi Maghara. Snefru also appears on 
two contemporary reliefs near each other in the Wadi, here given his 
full titles and noted as 'Smiter of Barbarians 1 ; he is shown in the already 
age-old attitude of doing just this. 

Snefru moved the royal burial ground yet again, not back to Memphis 
as might perhaps be expected, but to a new site at Dahshur, 28 miles (45 
km) north of Meydum. What governed the choice is not known, but he 
built two pyramids for himself there, and several kings of the later 1 2th 
Dynasty were to follow his choice of site. 

The two pyramids of Snefru 

Scholars have long debated which of Snefru's two pyramids at Dahshur 
was the earlier. The current consensus seems to find in favour of the 
southern pyramid, variously called the Bent, Blunt or Rhomboidal 
Pyramid because of its curious shape. This pyramid was associated with 
Snefru in the Old Kingdom, since a 5th Dynasty inscription identifies 

an official as 'Overseer of tlie South Pyramid of Snefru'. The explana- 
tion for the strange shape of the Bent Pyramid has been much argued. 
The German Egyptologist Ludwig Borchardt (1863-1938) suggested, in 
his 'accretion 7 theory, that the king died suddenly and the pyramid's 
angle had to be radically reduced from the 54°31' of the lower courses to 

44 The Old Kingdom 

[Above] The solid construction of the 
Bent Pyramid and its acute change of 
angle are very evident at its south-east 

[Below] Limestone stele from Snefru's 
Bent Pyramid enclosure. The king is 
shown, in delicate low relief, seated and 
wrapped in his heb-sed robe, wearing 
the Double Crown and holding an 
upright flail. Above and before him are 
his name and titles, all surmounted by a 
figure of the Horus falcon. Cairo 

the 43°21' of the upper courses in order to finish the work off rapidly. 
This reduction, however, actually makes little difference to the volume 
of the structure (and therefore the amount of work involved), added to 
which we now know that it was built before the northern pyramid. Kurt 
Mendelssohn proposed alternatively that the pyramid at Meydum 
(p. 40) and the southern pyramid at Dahshur were being built concur- 
rently, not consecutively, and that a building disaster occurred at 
Meydum - possibly after heavy rain when the casing slipped - which 
caused the architect at Dahshur hurriedly to change the angle of declin- 
ation when the pyramid was half -built. This theory is only acceptable if 
the collapse took place at the time of building, and not later during the 
New Kingdom as some evidence suggests. 

The Bent Pyramid is unique amongst Old Kingdom pyramids in not 
only having an entrance on its north face, as is the norm, but also a sec- 
ond entrance that opens high up on the west face. The north entrance, 
about 40 ft (12.2 m) above ground level, gives on to a sloping corridor 
that descends to two high, corbel-roofed chambers cut into the bedrock. 
From the upper of these two chambers, via a shaft and a passageway, 
another smaller chamber is reached which also has a corbelled roof. 
This third chamber, with its unusual access corridor from the west face, 
was only discovered in 1946-47. The rationale for having entrances on 
the north face of all the known Old Kingdom pyramids has a religious 
basis and is connected with the northern stars,- why there should be this 
one instance of a second, western, entrance is a mystery. Like Meydum 
and the northern pyramid at Dahshur, there was no trace of a sarcopha- 
gus ever having been in place in any of the chambers. 

Snefru's name has been found in red paint in two places in the Bent 
Pyramid and his association with the building was substantiated by the 
discovery of a stele - the remaining one of two - of the king inside a 
smaller pyramid within the enclosure (see illustration at left). The val- 
ley building associated with the pyramid was excavated in 1951-52 and 
produced evidence of having been decorated with reliefs of superb style 
and finish, but sadly all had been badly smashed and wrecked in antiq- 
uity. There had also been statues of the king, set into recesses, possibl 
forerunners of the series of freestanding statues that existed in the val- 
ley temple of Khafre (Chephren) at Giza. 

The northern or 'Red 7 pyramid at Dahshur is the first true pyramid 
(although the angle of its sides is slight - only 43°36 / , as against the later 
norm of 51°52') and takes its sobriquet from the colour of its stonework 
in the evening sun. Entrance is via a sloping passageway on the north- 
side which is located several feet above ground level, whence it 
descends to three consecutive chambers, all now rubble-filled and inac- 
cessible. This pyramid has been attributed to Snefru on the basis of 
some casing blocks which bear his name in red ink, and an inscription 
said to have been discovered nearby early this century,- the latter is 
decree of Pepi I of the 6th Dynasty remitting taxes due from the priest- 
of the Two Pyramids of Snefru'. It was probably in this northern pyra- 

Khufu 45 

mid that the king was buried; his wife Hetep-heres had her original 
tomb nearby (see below, p. 49). 

With such an obvious command of resources and manpower to be 
able to build two pyramids for himself and complete a third for his pre- 
decessor, Snefru had clearly consolidated the kingdom to such an extent 
that he was able to leave a strong inheritance to his son, Khufu 
(Manetho's Cheops). Khufu was to take his father's achievements even 
further, to the very apogee of pyramid-building on the Giza plateau. 


1 Below) The three pyramias of Giza seen 
from the south-east. From right to left 
they belong to Khufu, Khafre and 
ieff DeTdng "to'queens oFMerBcaure.Tt Is" 
an optical illusion that the middle 
pyramid, Khafre's, is the largest - it is 
simply built on slightly higher ground. 

The ancient authors through whom Manetho's works survive were all 
agcetd that. tht th\i& Yhvg oV the, ^th Ytyrvasty ^as ' Suphis, the Wilde* oi 

rfie\x^ea?^7taYnKl, ^^Ti^etDub^u^ fc^&m^iii^ 

conceived a contempt for the gods, but repenting of this, he composed 

better known by the Greek form of Cheops and the Egyptian form of 
Khufu. It is curious that Khufu should be placed third in line; there do 
not appear to be any other records of an intervening pharaoh between 

Khufu 45 

mid that the king was buried; his wife Hetep-heres had her original 
tomb nearby (see below, p. 49). 

With such an obvious command of resources and manpower to be 
able to build two pyramids for himself and complete a third for his pre- 
decessor, Snefru had clearly consolidated the kingdom to such an extent 
that he was able to leave a strong inheritance to his son, Khufu 
(Manetho's Cheops). Khufu was to take his father's achievements even 
further, to the very apogee of pyramid-building on the Giza plateau. 


Below) The three pyramids of Giza seen 
:rom the south-east. From right to left 
they belong to Khufu, Khafre and 
Menkaure. The smaller pyramids to the 
left belong to queens of Menkaure. It is 
an optical illusion that the middle 
ryramid, Khafre's, is the largest - it is 
simply built on slightly higher ground. 

The ancient authors through whom Manetho's works survive were all 
agreed that the third king of the 4th Dynasty was 'Suphis, the builder of 
the Great Pyramid, which Herodotus says was built by Cheops. Suphis 
conceived a contempt for the gods, but repenting of this, he composed 
the Sacred Books, which the Egyptians hold in high esteem 7 . 'Suphis 7 is 
better known by the Greek form of Cheops and the Egyptian form of 
Khufu. It is curious that Khufu should be placed third in line,- there do 
not appear to be any other records of an intervening pharaoh between 

46 The Old Kingdom 

The Great Pyramid: 
Vital $-v 

Original height: 481 ft (146,6 m). 

Present height: 451 ft (137.5 m). 

Angle of slope: 51°52\ 

Orientation: the four sides are 
orientated to "he fuur cat iinal points 
with oniy the minutest of errors. 

Length ofjides. basicpll/ 755 ft 
(230 m), with the greatest difference 
between the longest *and shot test of 
only 8 in (20.3 cm). 

Ground surface area: 13 acres, 
which, it has been calculated, could 
accommodate St Peter's in Rome, 
Westminster Abbey and St Paul's 
Cathedral in London, and the 
cathedrals ot Milan and rio^ence. It 
is known that there rises within the 
mass of the pvramid a nuge natural 
rock of unknown dimensions. 

Number of blocks used to cuild it: 
somewhere in the region of 
2,300,000 separate blocks is the 
usual figure suggested, each 
averaging about 2.5 tons in weight 
with a maximum ot lb tuns. While 
his officers climbea to the summit in 
July L798. Napoleon apparently sat 
in its shadow and cj d that 

tnere was enough stone used in the 
three pyr ar.nds of Giza tc e to 

build a wall around France, 1 ft 
(0.3 m) wide and 12 ft (3,7 m) high. 
The mathematician, Jaspard IVionge 
who accompanied the P rench savants 
to Egypt, is said to nave confirmed 
Napoleon's calculation. 

[Right] The west {left} and south faces of 
the Great Pyramid of Khufu at Giza. In 
front of the south face, and between it 
and the row of mastaba tombs of 
nobles, is now a boat-shaped building 
which houses Khufu's ship (p. 48), found 
there in a sealed pit in 1954. 

Family Tree: Dynasties 4-5 

? Huni (Dyn. 3) Meresankh I 

Hetepheres I 




—\ \ r~ 

_J L_ 



? Djedefre Hetepheres II Kawab Meresankh II Djedefhor Khafr Khufukaef Khamerernebty I 

Neferhetep ? Meresankh III 

Khamerernebty II 


Userkaf (Dyn. 5) 


Khentkawes Shepseskaf Bunefer Khuenre 

, ^ | 

Sahure (Dyn. 5) Neferirkare (Dyn. 5) Khamaat 

Huni = king Meresankh I = queen or princess Kawab = prince = marriage 


him and his father Snefru. The reference to his composing Sacred Book- 
is intriguing - these do not seem to have survived in later literature 
although Khufu's character was severely blackened by later chroniclers 
and strongly contrasted with the lives of his successors Chephren 
(Khafre) and Mycerinus (Menkaure). 

Like his father, Khufu probably reigned for about 23 or 24 years, anc 
he too seems to have initiated military expeditions to the Sinai penin- 
sula. Rock inscriptions in the Wadi Maghara record the presence of his 
troops in this region, no doubt for the dual purposes of keeping th 
bedouin in check and exploiting the turquoise deposits there. A now 
very faint inscription on a large boulder on the island of Elephantine at 
Aswan also indicates that the king had interests in the far south of the 
country - quarrying the fine Aswan red granite. 

Khufu 47 

■rnebty I 



i Books 

tars, and 
11 penin- 
C e of his 
Mug the 
A now 
mtine at 
tfa of the 

Statue of Hemon, Khufu's master 
juilder. The eyes have been hacked out 

robbers, and restored. Hildesheim 

The Great Pyramid of Khufu 

Khufu's greatest achievement was the creation of a monument that was 
to be recognized as the first of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, 
and the only one now standing: the Great Pyramid on the Giza plateau. 
Originally 481 ft or 146.6 m high (now only 451 ft or 137.5 m, having 
lost its top 30 ft) it was until the 19th century ad the tallest man-made 
building in the world - a proud record held by an ancient Egyptian 
architect for four and a half thousand years. 

It is not known why Khufu should have turned away from the site of 
his father's burial at Dahshur, or indeed that of his predecessors at 
Saqqara. Suffice it to say that he did, and that he chose a stretch on the 
Giza plateau to the south-west of modern Cairo. His work appears to 
have been the first on the site and it is curious that he did not choose 
the highest point of the plateau for his pyramid. This area was taken by 
his successor but one, Khafre (Chephren), and was to produce the opti- 
cal illusion that his pyramid is therefore taller than Khufu' s, which it is 
not (p. 45). 

Khufu channelled all his efforts into the creation of a single monu- 
ment, rather than several different pyramids. Like its predecessors, the 
Great Pyramid underwent several changes in its internal arrangements, 
but its external structure and dimensions appear to have been set from 
the start. The chief of works is thought to have been Khufu's cousin 
Hemon, of whom a powerful seated statue was discovered in his masta- 
ba tomb close by his masterpiece. 

For all its magnificence the Great Pyramid is still a puzzle. 
Herodotus was quoted some apocryphal figures by the priests: it took 10 
years to build the causeway from the valley temple to the mortuary 
temple, 20 years to build the pyramid itself, and the whole cost was in 
the region of 1600 silver talents (according to an inscription pointed out 
to him on the side), or just over £5 million/$7.5 million at present scrap 
silver prices. 

Moreover, we do not know exactly how it was built. Theories about 
this vary, from the use of a long ramp stretching out into the desert 
which was continually lengthened and heightened as the pyramid rose 
higher, to a ramp that rose as it wound round the pyramid face follow- 
ing each course upwards. Neither is very satisfactory and each is rather 
impractical in one way or another. Herodotus said that the structure 
had been built as a series of terraces, raising blocks on all four sides 
simultaneously with the use of 'contrivances made of short timbers'. 
This approach was tested with some success by the late Peter Hodges, a 
master builder, using short lengths of timber with a metal-shod foot, 
and it is certainly more convincing than the other theories. 

The internal layout indicates at least two changes in plan during con- 
struction. Initially there was to have been a burial chamber deep 
beneath the surface of the plateau,- this plan was then altered to incorpo- 
rate instead a small chamber, now erroneously known as the Queen's 
Chamber (and unfinished), within the pyramid bulk and about 50 ft 

48 The Old Kingdom 

[Above] Khufu's sarcophagus, cut from a 
single block of granite, still stands at the 
west end of his burial chamber in the 
Great Pyramid. 

[Below] View up the Grand Gallery in 
Khufu's pyramid. It rises to a height of 
28 ft (8.5 m), the slightly overlapping 
blocks forming a corbel that is then 
closed by a single block. 

(15.2 m) above ground level. Exploration in 1993 by a small ro: 
remote-controlled camera up the south 'air' tunnel from the Quea 
Chamber has revealed a small door secured by metal bolts. There is 
question of access because the door is so tiny, the tunnel being or. 
inches (20.25 cm) square. The results of further investigation are eage: 
awaited. The final change was for the construction of the magnific I 
Grand Gallery, 28 ft (8.5 m) high and closed by a corbelled roof, wh: 
led upwards to a horizontal passage that entered the King's Chambe: 
the heart of the pyramid. Here, at the west end of the chamber, 
placed a large granite sarcophagus, cut from a single block of Asv. 
granite. The sarcophagus must have been put in position before t 
chamber was roofed by nine flat slabs of granite (each with an ave 
weight of almost 45 tons), because it is about an inch too wide to 
through the entrance to the Ascending Corridor - an early example 
'built-in' furniture. 

The exterior of the pyramid was cased with shining white Tura lin 
stone, which was laid, as Herodotus rightly said, from the top dc 
wards. This was largely robbed in the Middle Ages to build medic- 
Cairo. Of the great limestone mortuary temple (171 x 132 ft, 52 x 4 
that stood before the pyramid's east face, nothing now remains ex^ 
its black basalt floor. The valley temple that stood at the foot of I 
pyramid causeway has disappeared under the Arab village, althou 
parts of it were observed in 1991 when new sewerage was being laid. 

Around the Great Pyramid, principally on the west side, were loa- 
the tombs of the courtiers, who hoped to serve their king in death 
as they had in life. On the east side are three subsidiary pyramid- 
Khufu's queens. Legend had it, as recounted by Herodotus, that the c< 
tral pyramid, 150 ft (46 m) square, was a product of the enterprise of 
of Khufu's daughters, whom he had placed in a brothel in order to 
more revenue for building the Great Pyramid. In addition to pay me 
the princess also asked each of her clients for a block of stone, wh: 
she used to build her own pyramid. Needless to say, there is no 
dence to confirm the story, although the pyramid does appear to be 
of a half-sister of Khufu. The first pyramid probably belonged to his 
sister- wife, and the third to another half-sister, Queen Henutsen. 

Two remarkable discoveries relating to Khufu have been made in I 
vicinity of his pyramid: the first, found in 1925 on the east side close 
the causeway, was the tomb of his mother, Queen Hetep-heres 
box); and the second, uncovered in 1954 close to the south face, 
that of an intact wooden ship. 

The royal ship of Khufu 

JTtnrinj* jihiaxaruzr *w£ttk jik^ xXr ^h^omnlb oiid?^ dh? v&em^r^mmLr 1 - 
May 1954, Kamal el-Mallakh found a series of 41 large blocking stor 
with an average weight of 18 tons each, which had hermetically sealed 
101 -ft (30.8-m) long rock-cut pit. Within it were the remains of a mfl 
nificent 141 -ft (43-m) long ship of cedar wood. Too long for the { 

Khufu 49 

The reconstructed cedar-wood ship of 
Khufu is remarkable for its preservation 
and slender lines. Boat Museum. Giza. 

intended for it, it had been carefully dismantled into 650 parts compris- 
ing 1224 pieces. After many years of patient restoration work by Hag 
Ahmed Youssef Moustafa (who had also been responsible for the 
restoration of Hetep-heres / furniture), the ship was presented to the 
world in March 1982 in a specially designed museum which incorporat- 
ed the pit in which it had lain for 4500 years. Not all the problems 
posed in conserving the ship have yet been solved by the Egyptian 
Antiquities Organisation; until they are, the opening of a second sealed 
pit discovered near the first will be postponed. Recent tests have indi- 
cated that it also contains a ship, but not in such good condition. 

It is a remarkable quirk of fate that for all the grandeur of Khufu's 
pyramid, his funeral boat, and the splendid style of his mother's funer- 
ary furnishings, there remains only one tiny portrait of the king himself 
(p. 42), found by Flinders Petrie in the old temple of Osiris at Abydos in 
1903. In a curious inverse ratio we find that the smallest statue repre- 
sents the builder of the greatest pyramid, while some of the finest mul- 
tiple statues extant from the Old Kingdom represent the builder of the 
smallest of the Giza pyramids, Menkaure (fifth ruler of the 4th 

The Tomb of 
Queen Hetep-heres 

The concealed entrance to a 99-tt 
(30.2-m) deep shaft was found by 
accident, disguised with plaster, by a 
photographer in 1925 during survey 
work in the Giza area. At the bottom of 
the shaft was a small chamber which, 
to judge from the blocking that had to 
be removed to reach it, had remained 
intact since the day it was sealed 
during the Old Kingdom. It contained a 
large alabaster sarcophagus with a 
canopic chest and a quantity of 
furniture which included a large 
dismantled canopy frame, two 
armchairs, a bed (shown restored, 
above right, Cairo Museum) and a 
carrying chair. The wood of all these 
items had suffered over the course of 
the millennia, but careful recording 
made their complete reconstruction 
possible. There were various vessels in 
gold, copper ana alabaster as well as 
other items of an obviously personal 
nature, such as a gold manicure set 
and 20 silver bracelets inlaid with 
delicate drap,onf!ies. Inscriptions in the 
gold casing on the wooden furniture 
idenlified the owner of the tomb as 

Hetep-heres, wife of Snefru and mother 
of Khufu. 

When the sarcophagus was opened 
it was found to be empty, but the 
queen had obviously occupied it once 
since her canopic chest had been 
used. This chest had four 
compartments containing the queen's 
embalmed viscera, and is the earliest 
known use of evisceration in the 
mummification process. This strange 
situation may be explained as follows: 
a» first, the queen had probably been 
buried close to her husband Snefru 's 
northern pyramid at Dahshur, but the 

Lorr c har" been t bbeo The robbers 
were not completely successful, 
although they had obviously destroyed 
the queen's bc^y before the guaros 
were able to rescue the remainder of 
the burial. It was decidea, the.efore. to 
move the burial to Giza, to the more 
secure area close to her son's pyramid 
(Khufu probably never knew that his 
mother' s eocy was no longer in the 

One day, perhaps .-.etec-heres 
original tomb will be found at Dahshur, 
since little excavation cr survey work 
has been carried out tnere. 

50 The Old Kingdom 







(Above) Red quartzite head of Djedefr. 
wearing the nemes headdress, from At 
Roash. Louvre, Paris. 


Birth name 


Djedef-re ('Enduring 

Unknown queen, 

like Re') 

Hetepheres II 

Also known as 


Djedefra, Redjedef, 









Pyramid, Abu Roash 




Birth name 


Kha-f-re ('Appearing 

Meresankh III, 

like Re') 

Khameremebty 1 

Also known as 


Khafra, Rakhaef, 

Nekure, Menkaure, 



Khephren (Greek), 


Suphis II (Manetho) 

Khameremebty II 




Second Pyramid, 




Khufu's successor was his short-lived son Djedefre, of whom little 
known. It was presumably he who completed his father's burial at G:: 
and was especially responsible for the provision of his funerary bo. 
(pp. 48-49). Djedefre's main significance is that he was the first king I 
adopt the name 'son of Re 7 . Moreover, for some unknown reason, 
chose not only to construct his funerary monument some 5 mile> 
km) north of Giza on a commanding plateau at Abu Roash, but also I 
revert to an earlier style of building. Instead of erecting his pyramid a: 
then cutting down into the bedrock to construct a burial chamber, h 
followed the 3rd Dynasty practice of excavating a huge open trench 1 1 
minating in a vertical shaft. 

It is extremely difficult because of the site's heavily denuded state 
make much sense of Djedefre's complex. There was a causeway, bi 
this ran north-south rather than the more usual east-west; no vallc 
temple has been found, and only the rough ground plan of a mudbr: 
mortuary temple was traceable, with difficulty, in the usual place 
the east face of the pyramid. To the south, a deep pit may indicate th 
provision of a funerary boat. These aspects, together with the fact tl 

::-)V^.: V C.rV A 









Khafre 51 

Mottled red and black granite statue of 
Setka, son of Djedefre, seated in a 
scribal pose; from Abu Roash. Louvre, 

very little remains of the pyramid's superstructure, imply that - due to 
the king's relatively short reign - hardly more than a start was made on 
the overall plan and construction of the pyramid and its attendant 

From the French excavations at Abu Roash in 1907 came a striking 
dark red quartzite head of the king wearing the nemes headdress; a 
small statuette of his son, Setka, shown as a squatting scribe in the tra- 
ditional posture,- and the lower half of a statuette of the king with his 
wife. The quality and style of these three pieces (all now in the Louvre, 
Paris) show that the tradition of 4th Dynasty art was firmly established 
by this reign. 

About a mile to the south of Giza, at Zawiyet el-Aryan, is an 
unascribed structure that is very similar in construction to Djedefre's 
pyramid, sharing the plan of a deep open trench. At the bottom of a deep 
shaft, sunk into the floor, was found an uninscribed oval granite sar- 
cophagus. Two names have been recorded from the site: one, in red 
paint on some blocks, may be read as Nebka,- the other was that of 
Djedefre, inscribed on a schist plaque. Neither serves as a strong attri- 
bution for the pyramid, although its construction technique would 
place it close in date to that of Djedefre. It presumably belonged to an 
obscure king of the 4th Dynasty, but the difficulty is to identify one and 
also where in the known sequence of 4th Dynasty kings he might fall. 


It was another of Khufu's sons, Khafre (Chephren) - builder of the 
Second Pyramid and Great Sphinx at Giza - who succeeded Djedefre in 
about 2558 bc. Manetho identifies Khafre as Suphis II and credits him 
with a reign of 66 years - which cannot be substantiated. Khafre did 
have quite a long reign, however, probably between the 24 years 
ascribed to him by the Turin Royal Canon papyrus (and apparently con- 
firmed by an inscription in the nearby mastaba tomb of Prince Nekure) 
and 26 years. At any rate, his reign was long enough to produce a mag- 
nificent funerary complex at Giza. 

The country was prosperous under Khafre, as is evidenced by the 
mastaba tombs of the nobles of his court. Carved on the wall of one of 
them - that of Prince Nekure, a 'king's son 7 - is a will, the only one of 
its kind known from the period. In it he left 14 towns to his heirs, at 
least 1 1 of which (three names are damaged) were named after his father 
Khafre. Nekure's legacy was divided up amongst his five heirs, but 12 of 
the towns were earmarked to endow the prince's mortuary cult for his 


The Second Pyramid of Giza 

The layout of Khafre's pyramid-complex - valley temple, causeway, 
mortuary temple and pyramid - was to set the standard for the rest of 
the Old Kingdom royal tombs. The valley temple, set on the edge of the 


The Great Sphinx has been much 
battered by wind and sand erosion. It did 
not, contrary to popular belief, lose its 
nose because of target practice at the 
time of the French invasion of Egypt in 
1798: the nose and its royal ritual beard 
had vanished long before then. The face 
had been damaged by religious fanatics 
in 1380 and part of the beard, a metre- 
high piece of sandstone carved with 
criss-crossed plaiting, was found 
between the paws of the Sphinx by 
Giovanni Battiste Caviglia in 1818 and 
is now in the British Museum. 

cultivation, is an impressively austere building, the largest O 
Kingdom structure to survive other than the actual pyramids. It was 
built of local limestone, but the walls were then literally veneered wi: 
great slabs of red granite brought from the quarries at Aswan, 600 mi~ . 
(965 km) away to the south. The pillars inside are monoliths of the 
same stone. Although the temple is no longer roofed, it is thought tk 
light shafts above the pillars lit a series of perhaps as many as 23 diori: 
schist and alabaster seated statues, similar in style to the one found 
Auguste Mariette in 1860 hidden in a pit just inside the entrance. Th 
larger-than-life-size polished diorite statue of Khafre with the Hon* 
falcon protecting the back of his nemes headdress, is one of the fine - 
masterpieces of ancient Egyptian art. 

The valley temple played an important role in the funerary cen 
monies of the dead king. Indeed, some rituals - particularly the purific 
tion ceremonies - seem to have been carried out on the roof beneat"" 
tented pavilion. From the interior of the valley temple an upward-slor 
ing passageway leads out to the beginning of the causeway, which 
turn leads to the upper, mortuary temple on the east face of the pyi 
mid. Little now remains of the mortuary temple. 

Khafre 53 

t Right) The god-like complacency of the 
pharaohs as gods on earth is well 
exemplified in the features on the 
remarkable diorite statue of Khafre from 
his valley temple (pp. 54-55). Cairo 

Below) Coloured lithograph published 
by Giovanni Belzoni in 1820 showing 
him entering the burial chamber of 
Khafre's pyramid on 2 March 1818. He 
was to leave the details and date of the 
.iiscovery written in lamp black high up 
on the south wall of the chamber. 

Khafre built his pyramid on slightly higher ground than his father, 
giving the illusion that his was taller than the Great Pyramid of Khufu. 
In fact, at WTA ft (136.4 m), it was originally 33 M ft (10.2 m) smaller 
than its earlier neighbour. Despite the fact that the Great Pyramid has 
lost its top 30 ft (9 m), the Second Pyramid is still shorter by about 3 l A ft 
(1.1 m). It does have the advantage, however, of retaining some of its 
original Tura limestone casing on the upper courses leading to the apex. 

In classical antiquity it was widely believed that Khafre's pyramid 
was completely solid with no entrance or rooms within it. This was 
quite wrong, for it had not one entrance on the northern face of the 
building (as was the norm for Old Kingdom pyramids) but two on this 
side - one in the pavement skirting and the second in the outer casing, 
about 40 ft (13 m) above the surrounding pavement and slightly off 


54 The Old Kingdom 

[Left] Life-size diorite statue of Khafre, 
found in his valley temple. The 
controlled strength of the god on earth, 
which the king was, and the symbolism 
of Horus' protection and projection of 
the king, are brilliantly achieved in the 
hard stone by yet another unknown and 
unnamed ancient Egyptian genius 
craftsman. Cairo Museum. 

[Below] Detail of Khafre ; s feet flanked 
by his cartouche. Cairo Museum. 

: & 

centre to the west. It was the pioneering Italian-bom 

archaeologist Giovanni Belzoni who realized that the 

rubbish piled up against the pyramid's north face 

was higher than the entrance located on the north 

face of the Great Pyramid. Having obtained a 'firman' 

(permit), he cleared away the debris and located the 

steeply sloping upper entrance to the pyramid on 2 March 1818. 

The passages descending from the two entrances join up and lead 
to the burial chamber, almost centrally placed beneath the pyramids 
and cut from the rock at ground level. The chamber's roof consists 
large limestone blocks pitched at a gable angle reflecting that of th 
outer casing of the pyramid (i.e. 52°20 / , slightly sharper than the Great 
Pyramid's 52°51'). Belzoni was disappointed to find that mediev. 
Arabs, following on after the ancient tomb robbers, had forestalled him 
and all that was left in the burial chamber was a plain polished red gra: 
ite sarcophagus sunk into the floor at the west end, which contain^ 
only a few animal bones. Belzoni left his name and the date of the entry 
writ large in lamp black on the south wall of the chamber, and al- 
inscribed the same message in the granite block above the entrance he 
had found. It was some years later before the lower passageway was 
cleared back to its entrance in the outside pavement. 

[Right] Cross-sections of the principal 
pyramids of the 3rd and 4th Dynasties, 
drawn to the same scale. 

Meydum (Huni/Snefru) 

Step Pyramid, Saqqara 

Bent Pyramid, Dahshur (Snef r . 

Khafre 55 







Above) The ancient Egyptians' 
complete mastery of working hardstone 

- well exemplified in the interior 
construction of Khafre's valley temple, 
where great blocks of granite may be 
- . en with most strange ; almost tenon- 
like joints, often turning corners instead 

: being cut to butt ends. 

PLan of the Giza plateau pyramid 

The Great Sphinx 

The Sphinx is an integral part of the funerary complex of Khafre and 
was apparently carved from an outcrop of local limestone rock left after 
the quarrying of blocks for the nearby Great Pyramid of Khufu. It is a 
crouching, human-headed lion that represents Re-Harakhte, the sun god 
at his eastern rising at dawn. Some recent nonsensical theories have 
suggested that the Sphinx is many thousands of years older than the 
pyramids, but there is no foundation for such fantasies. Its face is 
believed to represent Khafre and, as such, is the oldest large-scale royal 
portrait known. 

The Sphinx is about 66 ft (20 m) high and 240 ft (73 m) in length. For 
most of the last four and a half millennia it has been enveloped in sand. 
A large stele before its chest records that in c. 1419 bc the young prince 
Tuthmosis (later to be Tuthmosis IV) cleared away the sand that 
engulfed it (pp. 113-14). In recent years, since it is no longer protected 
by its sand covering, deterioration has been very noticeable, especially 
from rising ground water, and a large piece of rock weighing 30 kilos fell 
from its right shoulder in February 1988. This was restored and a full 
recording and conservation programme begun. 

The necropolis at Giza was to be completed by Khafre's son, 
Menkaure (Mycerinus), who came to the throne in about 2532 bc. 

>mid, Dahshur (Snefru) 

Great Pyramid, Giza (Khufu) 

Second Pyramid, Giza (Khafre) 

Third Pyramid, Giza 

56 The Old Kingdom 



li i n ii u Q i) 



W3 Shepseskaf 


[Right] Portrait detail of Menkaure from 
a slate triad group. Boston Museum. 



Birth name 


Men-kau-re ('Eternal 

Khamerernebty 1 

like the Souls of 



2 unknown queens, 

Also known as 

Khamerernebty II 





us (Greek), 









Third Pyramid, Giza 







Birth name 


Shepses-ka-f ('His 


Soul is Noble') 







Pyramid, South 



Menkaure (also known as Mycerinus) succeeded his father in abou 
2532 bc. According to legend, Menkaure's benevolent rule was ar 
affront to the gods. They had decreed that Egypt would suffer 150 year 
of hardship, and this had indeed been evident during the reigns of Khu: 
and Khafre, who were said to have been particularly harsh during th< 
building of their pyramids. Menkaure, by contrast, adopted a mud 
more benign attitude (which does seem to be reflected in his portrait- 
reopening temples and repealing many of the oppressive measures of hi: 
predecessors, and thus flouted the dictate of the gods. The deities thei . 
fore decreed, through the oracle of Buto (an ancient capital in the Del: 
whose patron goddess was Wadjet, the sacred cobra or uraeus that pr 
tected pharaoh), that Menkaure would only enjoy a reign of six year- 
after which the oppression would return. Menkaure considered this ar 
unwarranted stricture and determined to overcome it. He ordered tha* 
as night fell, candles were to be lit, and he continued to live by day ar. 
night, in theory expanding his reign from six to twelve years. The god> 
however, were not to be denied: Menkaure, the legend said, died aft. 
the six stipulated calendar years. 







m- "v 

[Above] The north and east faces of the 
third pyramid of Giza, built by 
Menkaure, seen from the south-east 
corner of Khafre's pyramid. 

Below) An early engraving showing the 
palace-facade-decorated sarcophagus 
found in the burial chamber of 
Menkaure's pyramid. It was probably a 
pious restoration of the Saite Period 
6th century bc), and was subsequently 
lost at sea on its way to England. 


Manetho ascribes to Menkaure a reign of 63 years. In fact we now 
believe he ruled for 28 years - which should have been long enough to 
build a monument much larger than his small pyramid at the south end 
of the Giza plateau. With an original height of 228 ft (70 m) - and now a 
mere 204 ft (62 m) - the so-called Third Pyramid is less than half the 
height of the Great Pyramid of Khufu. The stunted size has intrigued 
many commentators, and various explanations have been proposed, the 
most likely being that its small scale resulted from internal political 
problems - perhaps the strain on human and other resources caused by 
the huge building projects of his father and grandfather. 

The Third Pyramid of Giza 

Although the classical authors were agreed in ascribing the third pyra- 
mid at Giza to Menkaure, this was only confirmed early in the 19th 
century (1837-38) when Colonel Howard Vyse found the king's name 
written in red ochre on the ceiling of one of the three queens 7 subsidiary 
pyramids in Menkaure's complex. 

The lower courses of the outer casing of the pyramid were of red 
granite from Aswan, much of which survives today. The upper casing 
blocks were of gleaming white Tura limestone: a striking contrast. 
Although the pyramid was eventually 228 ft (70 m) in height, even this 
was an expansion because the original plan had been for a structure only 
about 100 ft (30 m) tall. This plan included an entrance passage on the 
north face just above ground level, but when the structure was expand- 
ed to its present form, the entrance was coy eyed up. A new entrance was 
thus made on the north face, and what was originally intended as the 
burial chamber now became simply an antechamber. 

58 The Old Kingdom 

[Above] Profile of the slate dyad statue 
of Menkaure and his wife 
Khamerernebty II. Note the manner in 
which her right arm enfolds him and 
her left rests on his left arm. Boston 


When Vyse entered the burial chamber he found against the wall an 
uninscribed and lidless basalt sarcophagus which was carved with tr 
early Old Kingdom pattern of the articulated palace facade. Inside it \\\. 
a wooden anthropoid coffin bearing the cartouche of Menkaure. T 
shape of the coffin was wrong for the period because coffins were n . 
tangular in the Old Kingdom. It would appear, therefore, that the coffi: 
and almost certainly the carved sarcophagus itself were pious restore 
tions carried out during the Saite Period in the later 6th and 5th cer. 
turies bc. Both items were shipped to England, destined for the Briti- 
Museum. Fortunately, they travelled in separate ships: the coffi 
reached the Museum, but the ship carrying the sarcophagus sank in 
storm in 1838 shortly after leaving Leghorn. Efforts made in rec^: 
years using highly sophisticated technical equipment have failed I 
locate the ship. 

From 1905 to 1927 the Harvard University/Boston Museum exped: 
tion directed by George A. Reisner worked on the pyramid site, clean: 
the valley and mortuary temples. Reisner found some truly remarkar 
slate statues in the valley temple that included the splendid tri 
groups of Menkaure accompanied by the goddess Hathor (given the k 
tures of his queen, Khamerernebty II) and a nome deity, and also a m:. - 
nificent dyad statue of the royal pair. Curiously, far more statu . 
survive of Menkaure than of his 4th Dynasty predecessors - in inve: - 
proportion to the size of their pyramids. Although the representation 
have the typical ethereal god-like look of the Old Kingdom, they ; 
portraits of the king, notable for his snub nose and slightly bulbo;. 
eyes. Four complete examples of the king standing with a nome de- 
survived and fragments of others - perhaps all the nomes were intend . 
to be represented in a great series of slate triads. The quality of can :: 
of this difficult stone is very high, as is the finish where it occurs 
although the majority are in various stages of completion, lending cre- 
dence to the story preserved in the legends that Menkaure met his death 

Menkaure ; s chief queen, Khamerernebty II, was the occupant of th< 
larger of the three subsidiary pyramids associated with his pyramid. K 
impressive granite sarcophagus is still in the burial chamber. She \\\. 
the eldest daughter of Khafre by his wife Khamerernebty I, who was 
daughter of Khufu by an unknown queen. Clearly, the royal family w 
bound by very strong blood ties. 

Alabaster head of a king from the valley 
temple of the third pyramid. Generally 
identified as being Shepseskaf, it has 
been suggested that it might be yet 
another representation of Menkaure. 
Boston Museum. 


Menkaure's eldest son by Khamerernebty II, Prince Khuenre, did n 
succeed him, presumably because he predeceased his father. A sm. 
stone statue in the Boston Museum represents the prince in the squat- 
ting position of a scribe, kilt stretched between his knees to support h 
writing board; this was to become the classic pose for scribal statues 
nobles in the next dynasty. Instead, the king was followed 1 

Shepseskaf 59 

Right) Slate triad representing 
Menkaure wearing the White Crown 
flanked on his right by the goddess 
Hathor, with sun disc and cow's horns 
headdress, and on his left by the 

jrsonification of the Hathor name, 
with her nome sign on her head. Both 
ladies have the features of Menkaure's 
queen, Khamerernebty II. Cairo 


Shepseskaf, another son by an unknown queen. His was a short reign of 
only four years. The fortunes of the kings of the 4th Dynasty were on 
the wane after Khufu's magnum opus, and began to slide rapidly down- 
hill towards the end. This is very evident in Shepseskaf's monument. 
He moved away from the Giza plateau, returning to the old 3rd Dynasty 
burial ground at South Saqqara where he erected a most curious tomb. 
Known as the Mastaba el-Faraoun (Pharaoh ; s Bench), it originally had 
the shape of a large rectangular sarcophagus but is now much denuded. 
His half sister, Khentkawes (daughter of another unknown queen of 
Menkaure), chose to have a similar style monument, but hers is back at 
Giza. She married Userkaf who became the first king of the next 

60 The Old Kingdom 




n u 





















© 1 (i 



u u 




















Sahu-re cHei 
Dose to Re) 

Pyram z Km 

: : I : RKARE 
Fhrone name 
*e#er r-ka+e 
"Beautiful si 
Sou of Re 

Two portrait heads of Userkaf seen in 
profile. The smaller of the two wears 
the Red Crown, the second the nemes 
headdress. Cairo Museum. 

The origins of the kings of the 5th Dynasty are recounted in the 
Westcar Papyrus which is preserved in the Berlin Museum. Probably 
written down during the Hyksos Period (around 1600 bc), it seems to 
have been composed in the 12th Dynasty - over 500 years after the 
events it describes - and endeavours to give a reason for the change of 
kings that led to the founding of the 5th Dynasty. Essentially the text 
consists of a series of stories told by one Djedi, a magician or possibly 
lector priest, at the court of Khufu. As part of one of the stories, Djedi 
mentions that three children as yet unborn to the lady Reweddjedet 
(wife of the High Priest of Re at Heliopolis) will become kings. He has- 
tens to assure Khufu, however, that his son and grandson - Khafre and 
Menkaure - will rule before this happens. Details are given of how the 
important goddesses Isis, Nephthys, Meskhenet and Heket, with the 
creator god Khnum acting as their attendant, assist Reweddjedet in her 
labour. The first born was Userkaf, 'a child one cubit long, whose bones 
were firm, the covering of whose limbs was of gold, and whose head- 
dress was of real lapis lazuli 7 . The next two children, Sahure and 
Neferirkare, were both of similar form. Despite the Heliopolitan origins 
of the dynasty, Manetho maintained that it stemmed from Elephantine, 
which is difficult to reconcile with the few known facts. 

Tved of tl 

• •:• "•■- 















Also known as 

Birth name 


User-ka-f ('His Soul 


is Powerful') 

Pyramid, Abusir 

Also known as 




Throne name 


Ni user-re 


('Possessed of 


Re's Power') 


Birth name 





Pyramid, North 

Pyramid, Abusir 




Throne name 

Sahu-re ('He who is 


Close to Re') 

('Eternal are the 


Souls of Re') 

Pyramid, Abusir 

Birth name 




Throne name 

Pyramid, Dahshur 


('Beautiful is the 


Soul of Re') 

Throne name 

Birth name 

Djed-ka-re (The 


Soul of Re 



Pyramid, Abusir 

Birth name 




Birth name 

Pyramid, South 



('Noble is the Soul 

of Re') 



Birth name 



Also known as 


Wenis, Unis 

Birth name 



Pyramid, North 

('Beautiful is Re') 



The sun-temple of Niuserre, based on 
the sanctuary at Heliopolis and the best 
preserved of the group at Abu-Gurob. 

Enclosure Wall 

Userkaf was in fact the grandson of Djedefre, the short-lived successor 
of Khufu. His mother was Queen Neferhetep, his father is unknown, 
and he married Khentkawes, daughter of Menkaure. Thus by that mar- 
riage the two lines of descent from Khufu were once more united. It has 
been suggested that the name Reweddjedet was a pseudonym for 
Khentkawes, which would mean that there was not so great a change in 
the ruling royal line as might at first be thought. 

Rejecting the tradition established by their 4th Dynasty predecessors 
of building at Giza, the 5th Dynasty kings moved the site of their funer- 
ary monuments south, first to Saqqara, where Userkaf built his pyramid 
just outside the north-east corner of Djoser's enclosure wall. Uniquely, 
its mortuary temple is located on the south side of the pyramid instead 
of the usual east, possibly because the ground was too difficult on the 
east. Considering, however, the supreme importance accorded to the 
Sun cult by Userkaf and his 5th Dynasty successors (the 'Sun Kings 7 ), a 
more likely explanation might be that on the south side of the pyramid 
the temple would be bathed in the sun's rays throughout the day. 
Surviving fragments from the reliefs that decorated the temple walls 
show the high quality of the sculpture, especially in the depiction of 
birdlife. The impressive and much larger-than-life-size pink granite 
head of Userkaf (opposite) wearing the nemes headdress found in the 
temple courtyard is still the largest surviving Old Kingdom portrait 
head (if one excludes the Sphinx). The whole complex is terribly ruined 
and the interior of the pyramid inaccessible. 

The solar temple of Abu-Gurob 

Further south, at Abu-Gurob, Userkaf built the first of the eventual five 
sun-temples or sanctuaries that were to become a feature of the archi- 
tecture of the early 5th Dynasty kings. At this remote spot in the desert, 
the king constructed a sturdy podium of mudbrick and limestone with a 
smaller podium upon it at the west end, on which stood a stumpy 
obelisk (the benben) - forerunner of the more lofty obelisks of the New 
Kingdom. In front of the obelisk podium was a sun altar which was later 
to become a feature of Akhenaten's apparently innovative temple to the 
Aten (14th century bc). A causeway led north-west to a valley temple 
and to the south was a boat of Re constructed of mudbrick. It was from 
the valley temple that the other fine portrait head of Userkaf was recov- 
ered, this time in schist and showing him wearing the Red Crown. 

^Valley Temple 










62 The Old Kingdom 


Detail of Sahure from a dyad statue 
where he is seated beside the standing 
personification of the Coptos nome. 
Metropolitan Museum, New York. 

The Tomb of a Noble 

A \a\ E tone false door from the 

mastaba tomb of a noble. 
Ptahshepses, at Saqqara (now in the 
British Museum) is of interest in 
relation to + he Westcar Papyrus story. 
He was born in the reign Of 
(vienkaure, educated in the royal 
palace and married Princess 
Khamaat, £ *hter. 

The inscriptions around the great 
false door, rather unusually, contain 
a lot of biographical information 
instead of the more standard 
religious texts. Ptahshepses records 
how he served under four 
consecutive kings of the 5th Dynasty 
and, in fact, from his birth to his 
death lived during the reigns of seven 
kings, the last two of the 4th Dynasty 
and the first five of the 5th Dynasty, 
dying in the reign of Niuserre. 

Only slightly to the north-west of Userkaf's sun temple his succes- 
sors proceeded to erect theirs in a row. Little now remains of these ; 
other than mounds with scattered stone blocks on the desert face. 

From Sahure to Djedkare-Isesi 

Slightly further south lie the pyramid complexes of Neferirkare 
Niuserre and Sahure, of which the last is the largest and the best pre- 
served. Like the other 5th Dynasty pyramids, the pyramid of Sahure - 
the second ruler of the dynasty - is itself a rough rubble mound, but its 
mortuary temple on the east face is still discernible and preserves stairs 
that led to the roof or a second storey. A feature of the temple architec- 
ture is the splendidly carved red granite date-palm columns and the 
bold and deeply incised hieroglyphs of the king's name and titulary on 
huge granite blocks. The walls were highly decorated with finely carved 
scenes of conquest, hunting and expeditions, all now sadly wrecked and 
largely disappeared except for odd fragments preserved in museums. 
Reconstructions of the pyramids produced by the German team who 
excavated here under Ludwig Borchardt give a good impression of the 
area's former grandeur, with long causeways stretching down to the val- 
ley temples at the edge of the cultivation. 

The reliefs in the Abusir mortuary temples offer some of the earlies: 
pictorial evidence of trade beyond the Nile Valley. In Sahure's complex 
great ships are illustrated with Egyptians and Asiatics on board. These 
are thought to be part of a trading fleet returning from the port of Byblos 
in the Lebanon with the great cedar trees that were to become a major 
feature in later temple building. There is certainly evidence from the 
Lebanon of the presence there of 5th Dynasty kings, including frag- 
ments of stone vessels bearing their cartouches and the name of Sahure 
on a piece of thin gold furniture fitting from the 'Dorak Treasure' in 
Turkey. Widespread trading and expeditions to the south and further 
into the Near East appear to increase during the next dynasty, but this 
may simply reflect the better-preserved records and accounts of the 
later period. 

An innovation in this dynasty under the third king, Neferirkare, wa- 
the use of a second cartouche. This contained his name Kakai, which 
may have been his birth name. Thereafter most kings seem to have had 
a second cartouche, but not all are known. It is from the mortuary tem- 
ple of Neferirkare at Abusir that the earliest extant hieratic script writ- 
ten on papyrus survives - a series of temple accounts, daily work rosters 
and equipment lists. 

The return to Saqqara 

The last kings of the dynasty moved back to Saqqara for their burial 
place. A small 80-ft (24-m) heap of rubble marks the pyramid of the 
penultimate ruler, Djedkare-Isesi, on the edge of the plateau,- his mortu- 
ary temple, largely destroyed in the Second Intermediate Period am 



: :ou 

Unas 63 

When Gaston Maspero entered the 
pyramid of King Unas in 1881, he 
found long columns of hi* lie 

inscription covering the walls. Known 
as the Pyramid Texts, these comprise 
°?8 spells designed to help the soul 
of the deceased on its journey in the 
next world, some of which may have 
been recited during the burial 
ceremony, Unas' pyramid was the 
first to feature such texts, but the 
tradition was quickly established to 
become the norm in the next dynasty. 



# ! iV J X 

: t*rF i 

n f $ 


Detail of a section of the I Texts 

inscribed in the pyramid of Unas. The 
king's cartouche appears in the left and 
right hano columns. 

No complete series exists in any of 
the pyramids, but a total of 400 
spells have been collated from the 
pyramids of Unas and his 6th 
Dynasty successors. The texts were 
replaced m the Middle Kingdom by 
the Coffin Texts, which subsequently 
became the papyrus 'Book of the 
Dead' in the New Kingdom. 

then used as a burial ground in the 18th Dynasty, lies nearby. It was 
only during excavations at the temple in 1946 that it became possible to 
identify the owner of the associated pyramid as Djedkare-Isesi; hitherto 
there had been no indication of his name within the pyramid since all 
the blocks lining the walls of the antechamber and burial chamber had 
been removed and the black basalt sarcophagus smashed. Fragments of 
fine reliefs were found in the mortuary temple, and also pieces of stat- 
ues of foreign prisoners and various animals. The queen's pyramid and 
attached mortuary temple were found to have similar fine decoration 
when they were discovered in the early 1950s. 


The last king of the 5th Dynasty was Unas, whose rubble-core pyramid 
lies just to the south of Djoser's temenos wall at Saqqara. Although 
largely ruined, it still preserves the basic pyramid complex with a valley 
temple at the desert edge from which a long causeway (with a curious 
kink in it) leads up to the east face of the mortuary temple and the 
north entrance to the pyramid. The pyramid was first entered in mod- 
ern times by Gaston Maspero in 1881 when he found that, for the first 
time, the interior of a pyramid was decorated. The antechamber and 
most of the walls of the burial chamber were covered by long columns 
of texts, the so-called 'Pyramid Texts'. 

A small section of the causeway leading up to Unas' pyramid has 
been restored to its full height with its roof closed save for a narrow 
light slit. The walls were covered with carved reliefs more reminiscent 
of the mastaba tombs of the nobles, showing markets and bargaining in 
progress, ships in full sail, hunting in the desert, small vignettes of 
desert life and, most interestingly, scenes of famine which presumably 
occurred during the reign. On the south side of the causeway are two 
huge stone-lined boat pits, but whether they actually held wooden boats 
like that of Khufu or were just symbolic is debatable. The causeway was 
built over a number of earlier tombs and thus served to preserve them 
and their decoration,- unfortunately, little of their contents remains, 
since the majority were robbed when the causeway was built, if not 

On the outer casing of the south side of Unas' pyramid is an inscrip- 
tion recording the restoration of the pyramid, which had fallen into 
decay, and the restitution of the king's name. This was done in the 19th 
Dynasty by Khaemwaset, High Priest of Memphis and one of the many 
sons of Ramesses II who predeceased him: he might be described as the 
first conservation archaeologist. Found scattered on the desert face, the 
inscription was restored and replaced high up on the pyramid in the late 

It appears that Unas left no heir, leading to a short period of political 
instability. This was apparently resolved, however, when Teti rose to 
the throne as the first ruler of the 6th Dynasty. 

64 The Old Kingdom 






/ww\ / 


D D 






\ B\rth name 

\ Vysmb, South ^ 





( (put, Kawi't, 

Throne name 


Mer-en-re ('Beloved 


of Re') 

Pepi 1 

Also known as 




Birth name 



Pyramid, North 

('Nemty is his 






Birth name 



Pyramid, South 

Also known as 


Pepy 1, Piopi 1, 

Phiops 1 (Greek) 


Throne name 

Birth name 

Mery-re ('Beloved 


of Re') 

Throne name 



Ankhnesmerire 1, II, 

('Beautiful is the 


Soul of Re') 



Merenre, Pepi II 

Neith, Ipwet 




Pyramid, South 




Pepi I 






Pepi II 




According to Manetho, the 6th Dynasty kings came ixom Memphis, 
statement which seems to be borne out by the location of their funeral 
monuments at Saqqara, overlooking the capital of Memphis. Teti - 
accession to the throne as the first king of the new dynasty seems to 
have resolved the monarchical and political instability in Egypt which 
followed the death of Unas. By marrying one of Unas 7 daughters, Iput 
he legitimized his right to rule; and by adopting the Horus name 
Seheteptawy ('He who pacifies the Two Lands 7 ), he symbolized renewed 
political unity in the country. He also sought the good will of the 
increasingly powerful nobility and provincial elites by marrying his 
daughter Seshseshet to the vizier Mereruka (whose mastaba tomb clo,- . 
by Teti 7 s pyramid is the best-known monument of the reign). 

The surviving manuscripts of Manetho 7 s work all record that Ten 
(sometimes known as Othoes) was murdered by his bodyguard. There is 
no direct evidence, although a violent death may help to explain refer- 
ences to another king, Userkare, who may have reigned briefly betwec 
Teti and his son Pepi I. At any rate, Teti seems to have reigned for abo . 
12 years, during which he continued to trade with Byblos and Nubia. 







From Pepi I to Pepi II 65 


[Left] Small alabaster statuette of Pepi I. 
Like Khafre, Pepi has the Horns falcon 
associated with him, but instead of 
enfolding the king's head in protective 
wings, the bird stands aloof on the back 
of the high-backed throne, wings furled 
and looking obliquely away from the 
king. Brooklyn Museum. 

[Below] Green slate kneeling statue of 
Pepi I. In his two extended hands, 
resting on the folded kilt over his 
thighs, he proffers a pair of small 
globular vases. He is offering wine or 
water to a god and, as such, this is the 
earliest example of the genre of statuary 
that was to become extremely popular 
with royalty, and more so with the laity, 
down into the Late Period. Brooklyn 


[Left] An almost three-dimensional 
ka -statue of Teti's vizier and son-in-law 
Mereruka strides from the false door in 
the main offering hall of his 32-room 
mastaba tomb - the largest at Saqqara 
because it was a family tomb, with a 
separate section for his wife Seshseshet 
and son Meri-Teti. The wall reliefs 
above) are an incredible record of daily 
life in ancient Egypt, such as the 
hippopotamus hunt. 

There is relatively little to show for Teti's reign nowadays except for 
the once finely cased but now rubble mound of his pyramid towards the 
northern edge of the Saqqara plateau. As usual, the entrance is on the 
north side and leads to a much damaged burial chamber inscribed with 
excerpts from the Pyramid Texts and still with its lidless basalt sar- 
cophagus. A wooden coffin found in 1881 is in the Cairo Museum. 
Although there are the remains of a mortuary temple on the east face, 
the causeway leading to it from the valley temple has vanished and the 
valley temple itself has never been found. To the north of the pyramid 
lie the sand-covered smaller pyramids of two of Teti's queens, Iput and 
Kawit. Iput was the mother of the next king, Pepi I, and her skeleton 
was found in a wooden coffin in her pyramid (although many of the 
other items therein had been robbed). 

From Pepi I to Pepi II 

Teti's son Pepi I probably acceded to the throne very young, for he 
appears to have had a long reign of about 50 years. A number of inscrip- 
tions from the period record the rising influence and wealth under Pepi I 
of nobles outside the royal court; these nobles began to build fine tombs 








66 The Old Kingdom 

Large copper statue of Pepi I from the 
temple of Hierakonpolis. The king lacks 
a crown and a midriff where his kilt 
would have been; presumably both 
missing items would have been 
supplied separately in a material such 
as gilded plaster. Beside him is his son 
by Queen Ankhnesmerire I, Merenre. 
Cairo Museum. 

for themselves in the provincial areas of Upper Egypt and boasted of 
privileges resulting from friendship with the king. The king also face 
other problems, not least a conspiracy plotted against him by one of his 
queens, Weret-Imtes; but the plan was thwarted and the wife punished. 
Despite such difficulties, the king evidently mounted various trading 
expeditions, often to fetch fine stone for the many building projects he 
initiated. An inscription found in the alabaster quarries at Hatnub m 
Middle Egypt has been dated to Year 50 of his reign since it refers to the 
25th cattle-count, which was a biennial event. 

It is from Pepi's funerary monument that the modern name o: 
Memphis derives. His pyramid was called Mn-nfr, '[Pepi is] established 
and good 7 , and it was the corruption of this title by classical writers that 
gave the present name. The pyramid itself, at South Saqqara, is badlv 
smashed although surviving fragments of texts from the collapsed bur- 
ial chamber are of very high quality. 

From the temple of Hierakonpolis (Nekhen) in upper Egypt come tw 
remarkable copper statues, the earliest known life-size sculptures ir 
that metal. The larger is a standing, striding figure of Pepi I, holding 
long staff in his left hand, while the smaller is his son, Merenre, beside 
his right leg. A better idea of Pepi's features is given by a small green 
slate statue of the king wearing the royal nemes headdress, while anoth- 
er small alabaster statuette of the king shows him holding the royal 
emblems of crossed flail and sceptre (crook), and wearing the tall Whi: 
Crown of Upper Egypt (pp. 64, 65). 

Pepi I married the two daughters of a provincial prince of Abydos 
named Khui; confusingly, the ladies both had the same name, Ankhne- 
merire. One became the mother of Merenre and the other bore Pepi II. 

Merenre succeeded his father for only a short reign of some five 
years, after which his brother Neferkare Pepi II came to the throne 
Although only six years old when he succeeded his brother, Pepi II, :. 
with any royal child, was acknowledged as ruler from birth. Indeed, an 
attractive alabaster seated statuette of his mother, Ankhnesmerir. 
shows him on her lap as a small adult male wearing the royal nem. 
headdress,- another represents the king as a young naked child, squattir. . 
with his hands on his knees and wearing the uraeus on his headdress. 

Pepi II married several times, principally to Neith - daughter of his 
father Pepi I and Ankhnesmerire I (i.e. his half-sister and cousin) - an. 
to his niece Ipwet, daughter of his brother Merenre,- there were at lea- 
two other senior queens too. His reign was the longest in Egyptian his 
tory (if we accept that the scribe recording details of his rule did n 






■2, ,<& &°^\ 











From Pepi I to Pepi II 67 

Rags to Riches: 
The Story of Weni 

The exemplary life of the noble Weni, 
who served under the first three 
kings of the dynasty, is inscribed on 
the walls of his tomb at Abydos. One 
of the longest narrative inscriptions 
of the period, the autobiography 
records how Weni rose from almost 
obscure origins through the court's 
hierarchy from an Inferior custodian' 
to a 'Friend' of Pepi and a High Court 
judge at Nekhen (Hierakonpolis) -the 
important cult centre of the vulture 
goddess Nekhbet. Eventually he was 
appointed Governor of the South 
under Merenre. As a most respected 
judge (1 was more excellent to the 
heart of His Majesty than any official 
of his') he was the sole arbiter in a 
harem conspiracy case involving the 
Queen Weret-lmtes: 'Never before 
had the like of me heard a secret 
matter of the King's harem, but His 
Majesty caused me to hear it'. 
Bearing in mind Manetho's assertion 
that the previous king, Teti (Pepi's 
father), had been assassinated, no 
doubt the sentence on the queen 
was a capital one. 

After that success Weni changed 
positions to be placed at the head of 
an army of 'many tens of thousands' 
that marched against the bedouin in 
northern Sinai. He boasted that 
despite the numbers no one suffered 
on the route thanks to his policy of 
'living off the land'. In all he crushed 
five revolts in the area, culminating in 
the first recorded Egyptian attack on 
southern Palestine. Finally, in his 
capacity as Governor of the South 
under Merenre, Weni brought stone 
for the royal pyramid from the First 
Cataract quarries, and in so doing cut 
five channels to facilitate passage 
through the cataract. 

The Young Pepi II 

Alabaster statuette of Queen Ankhnes- 
merire with her young son, Pepi II, on her 
lap shown as a miniature adult, complete 
with the royal nemes headdress. Brooklyn 

A charming vignette of the young 
excitable eight-year-old King Pepi II 
comes from an inscription on the 
fagade of the tomb of the noble and 
caravan leader Harkhuf at Aswan. 
Harkhuf made four journeys into the 
dangerous lands south of Aswan to 
collect elephant tusks, ebony, incense 
and other precious commodities. 
None, however, was more precious 
than the small pygmy whom he 
captured on the route to Darfur in Year 
2 of Pepi's reign. Returning with his 
prize, he sent word ahead to the royal 
court at Memphis and received back 
explicit instructions in a letter from the 
young king to 'come northward to the 
Court im mediately ... My Majesty 
desires to see this dwarf more than 
the gifts of Sinai and of Punt'. Harkhuf 
was told to take great care that the 
dwarf was always accompanied on the 
deck of the ship so that he should not 
fall into the Nile and that he should 
also be inspected ten times a night as 
he slept to ensure no harm befell him. . 
Harkhuf evidently achieved his mission 
and presented the dwarf at Court, to 
the young king's delight. 

confuse the numbers 64 and 94, which are very similar in cursive hier- 
atic script), and this longevity was probably partly responsible for the 
declining power of the Egyptian state. 

There is increasing evidence during this period of the decentraliza- 
tion of control away from Memphis. Local governors (nomarchs) cut 
huge and impressive decorated tombs for themselves in the provinces, 
and paid only a nodding allegiance to the northern capital. The wealth 
that the king bestowed on his nobles not only depleted his own treasury 
but also enhanced their status to the detriment of his. At the same 
time, the heavy demands of Egypt's foreign interests further accelerated 
political collapse. 

Some sources mention a successor to Pepi II, Merenre II (probably the 
son of Pepi II and Neith) and his successor Queen Nitocris, thought to 
be his wife. Manetho, for instance, describes Nitocris as 'braver than all 
the men of her time, the most beautiful of all the women, fair-skinned 
with red cheeks'. No archaeological evidence has been found of her 
reign, nor of Herodotus' story that she avenged the murder of her broth- 
er (?Teti I, since he was the murdered king) by tricking the perpetrators 
of this deed into drowning, before herself committing suicide. 

At any rate, with the demise of the 6th Dynasty in about 2181 bc the 
Old Kingdom as such came to an end. 



T3 ST 


2181-2040 bc 

DY i8 


Qakare Iby 



Meryibre Khety 




IS fo—io / U 

-:: :? ^W"M \Mj& : i- ! HS'r^NY:C'i<^SD:.A'rE PtRJc 

: - /•.;--. :>m;,H -; MFDYLE .^^O:,* YYY;;W 


: ■■■■■> ,,-A % 


I *SjWiJf ^? #! • »■ ./fe&y'Kre ■.'• , : , ; y 









From its inception at the end of the 4th millennium bc, 
Egyptian civilization had gone from strength to strength in 
every sphere of the arts, sciences and technology, reaching its 



rtGrtrt ^Bv^v^'w'-. •virtu- rtrv ' rtrt. vrturtu ^rtrtrt 







1 -oO 


70 The First Intermediate Period 





gWj^j Wadjkare 



' 3%\j\ Qakare 

m Iby 


WMM3M Nebkaure 


MjO Merykare 





Throne name 

Birth name 

. • 3 :._,-ka-re 

Mery-ka-re ('Beloved 

Prosperous is the 

is the Soul of Re') 

Soul o f Re') 



Birth name 

Throne name 


Qa-ka-re ("Strong is 

('Beautiful is the 

the Soul of Re') 

Soul of Re') 

Birth name 



Throne name 


Neb-kau-re ('Golden 

Throne name 

are the Souls of Re) 

Mery-ib-re ('Beloved 

Birth name 

is the Heart of Re") 


Birth name 





With the death of Pepi II, central government broke down completely 
and the fragile unity that had held Egypt together during the Old 
Kingdom finally splintered. Papyri from the later Middle Kingdom 
emphasize the turmoil of the First Intermediate Period, for the country 
had indeed fallen into political and monarchical disorder. 

The later historical sources relating to this period are also confused: 
Manetho mentions a 7th Dynasty consisting of 70 kings who reigned for 
70 days, but rather than being real rulers they were probably dreamt up 
by the ancient historians to symbolize the demise of central control at 
the end of the Old Kingdom. More certain, however, seems the existence 
of an 8th Dynasty. Comprising 17 or so kings, possibly descended from 
Pepi II, these rulers claimed to govern from Memphis. Their authority 
was nevertheless mostly limited to the area around this city, for the 
Delta had been invaded by so-called 'Asiatics 7 from the east, Thebes 
(Luxor) had ceased to be the capital of the fourth nome in Upper Egypt, 
and the city of Herakleopolis (near modern Beni Suef ) had won control of 
Middle Egypt. The 8th Dynasty was short-lived, lasting for only 20 years 
or so, and the kings left little evidence of their rule apart from a royal 
exemption decree issued by King Wadjkare (whose Horus name was 
Demedjibtawy) and a small pyramid of a king called Qakare Iby. 

e^ . JT> -<S° J>6^ .,& m5> 



vO X 

mhf:^^r: ■;<.£, -r v- : MrAK-r-;pQ. -^m) 









Wadjkare to Nebkaure Akhtoy 71 

Following the breakdown of the Memphite government, the 
provinces began to jockey for power, as nomarchs set themselves up as 
petty warlords. It was at this time that a ruling family from 
Herakleopolis emerged, the 9th Dynasty, founded perhaps by one 
Meryibre Khety. This dynasty may have held sway over the whole coun- 
try for a while, but by the beginning of the second Herakleopolitan 
dynasty (10th Dynasty) some 30 years later, dual sovereignty had been 
established, with southern Egypt controlled by a rival family, the 1 1 th 
Dynasty, at Thebes (p. 72). 

The two Herakleopolitan dynasties were somewhat unstable and fre- 
quent changes of ruler took place. Manetho mentions the cruelty of a 
9th Dynasty king named Achthoes, but goes on to describe how the gods 
exacted their revenge: the king was apparently driven mad and then 
eaten by a crocodile. The name of Meryibre Khety has been recorded and 
maintains the full titulary with the two cartouches; another document- 
ed name in a cartouche is that of a king called Merykare. 

One of the most important of the few monuments from this war-torn 
period is the tomb of the nobleman Ankhtify, found at el-Moalla 20 
miles (32 km) south of Thebes. He was no mean warrior and identifies 
himself as 'great chieftain 7 (presumably the nomarch) of the 
Herakleopolitan nome (el-Kab). In such troubled times as these, his 
power could have been god-like and his word law ( 7 I am the beginning 
and the end of mankind for my equal has not and will not come into 
being 7 ), but he could also be humane, as shown by one record of his feed- 
ing the famine-struck populace. Nevertheless, he did this at the behest 
of the king, Kaneferre, who was probably the third king of the 9th 

The name of another king occurs in the well-known Middle Kingdom 
Tale of the Eloquent Peasant 7 . This peasant was robbed of his goods on 
the way to market by a local 'bully boy 7 landowner, and decided to take 
his case to the highest in the land. He pleaded his case 'in the reign of his 
late Majesty King Nebkaure 7 before the king himself, who was entranced 
by the humble peasant's eloquence, making him present the case time 
and again in order to enjoy listening to him. The king concerned was 
probably Nebkaure Akhtoy of the later 9th/ 10th Dynasty. 

As the authority of the Herakleopolitan government grew, so too did 
that of the Theban dynasty. Increasing hostility between the two powers 
resulted in frequent clashes along the border (mostly north of Abydos), 
which only really abated when Egypt was reunified by one of the 11th 
Dynasty kings. 









72 The Middle Kingdom 






(7) Q a^aaaN 

Intef I 



Intef II 


( e±tt^ 



^| Intef III 



Mentuhotep I 


W\^j\ Mentuhotep II 

^ Sankhkare 

^UJ 2010-1998 


Mentuhotep III 

^ Nebtawyre 
^ 1997-1991 



Throne name 

Birth name 


Sa-re Intef ('Son of 

('Pleased is the 

Re Intef) 

Lord Re') 

Also known as 


Inyotef 1, II, III 

Temple-tomb, Deir 

Horus name (1) 

el-Bahari (Thebes) 

Seher-tawy ('Maker 

of Peace in the Two 



Birth name 

Horus name (II) 

As Mentuhotep 1 

Wah-ankh ('Strong 

Throne name 

in Life') 

Sankh-ka-re ('Giving 

Horus name (III) 

Life to the Soul of 



('Beautiful and 


Strong Champion') 

?Deir el-Bahari 

Burial (l-lll) 


Dra Abu el-Naga 



Birth name 


As Mentuhotep 1 

Birth name 

Throne name 

Mentu-hotep (The 

Neb-tawy-re ('Lord 

god Montu is 

of the Two Lands is 



Also known as 




Strictly speaking, the Middle Kingdom starts with the reunification of 
Egypt under the fourth king of Dynasty 11, Mentuhotep I. The dynasty 
itself began with a series of three kings (in fact hardly more thai: 
nomarchs), who ruled from Thebes. All known as Intef (or Inyotef), they 
were each involved in struggles against the northern kings or 
Herakleopolis. Interestingly, their Horus names indicate more their 
aspirations than reality: Intef II called himself 'King of Upper and Lower 
Egypt 7 , whereas his control did not extend beyond the Thebes area,- and 
Intef III gave himself the name Nakhjtnebtepnefer or 'Beautiful and 
Strong Champion 7 . Furthermore, they curiously reverted to having their 
Horus names in a serekh, with only their birth names in the cartouche. 
The three Intefs were buried in great tombs in the Dra Abu el-Naga 
an area to the north of the Theban plain on the west bank, close to where 
the road starts into the later Valley of the Kings. Because of their row of 
doorways, or porticoes, these have been called saff tombs, saff being an 
Arabic word for row. There is now little indication of their once royal 
status. One of the so-called 'tomb robbing' papyri dating from the reigr. 
of Ramesses IX (c. 1 1 15 bc) records that a check on the tomb of Wahankh 
Intef II found the burial to be intact. It notes furthermore that there wa^ 
a stele in front of the tomb on which the king was shown with his 









[Above] Deir el-Bahari looking north 
with the terrace temple of Mentuhotep I 
in the foreground. 

[Below] Detail of the seated statue of 
Mentuhotep I found in a chamber 
beneath his temple-tomb. Cairo 

favourite hunting dog, Behka. Auguste Mariette found the broken lower 
half of the stele in I860; in fact there was not one dog on it but five. 
What remains of the inscription indicates that, in the territorial disputes 
against the Herakleopolitan dynasties, Intef II established his boundary 
as far north from Thebes as the 10th nome (Antaeopolis), taking the 8th 
nome of sacred Abydos on the way. His successor Intef III pushed the 
border yet further north, almost to Asyut, and it was at this frontier that 
Mentuhotep I (sometimes known as Mentuhotep II) fought for control of 
the whole country. 

Mentuhotep I 

The reign of Mentuhotep I reached its pinnacle some years after he came 
to the throne with the reunification of Egypt. The political progression 
of his career is eloquently attested by the series of Horus names he 
adopted: first 'He who gives heart to the Two Lands', then 'Lord of the 
White Crown 7 (Upper Egypt), and finally 'Uniter of the Two Lands 7 . 

The king 7 s birth name, Mentuhotep - meaning 'Montu is content 7 , 
Montu being the Theban god of war - also seems appropriate, since the 
first part of his reign at least saw a great deal of bitter fighting. Indeed, in 



Reunification of Egypt 














74 The Middle Kingdom 

Two finely detailed wooden models of 
soldiers were found in the 1 1th Dynasty 
tomb of Mesehti at Asyut. Buried 
c. 2000 bc, they represent 40-strong 
detachments of Egyptian spearmen and 
Nubian archers. Cairo Museum. 

the 1920s the American archaeologist Herbert Winlock found a mas- 
tomb at Thebes, near Mentuhotep's temple, containing the bodies of 60 
soldiers slain in battle. They had almost certainly been killed in Nubia 
and brought back for burial in Egypt - one of the earliest war cemeterie> 
The militaristic theme is also evident in two large models of wooden 
soldiers found in the tomb of a local prince or general, Mesehti, at Asyut 
in 1894. One represented a troop of 40 marching Egyptian pikemen, each 
armed with spear and hide shield, and the other a similarly sized group 
of Nubian archers. 

The turning point in the fortunes of the Theban camp came in Year 1 - 
of Mentuhotep's reign, when the Thinite (Abydos) nome rose up in 
revolt. Mentuhotep took immediate steps to crush it, in a series of ba 
ties which eventually led to his overall rule of Egypt. By Year 39 of his 
reign, he was well established as 'Uniter of the Two Lands 7 . A scratched 
inscription documents an expedition, mounted in the same year, t 
Abisko 17 miles (27 km) south of the First Cataract; similar records 
occur at Shatt er-Rigal, where the king was accompanied by his chancel- 
lor Akhtoy, and in the Wadi Hammamat quarries. 

The mortuary temple of Mentuhotep I 

Mentuhotep I enjoyed an unusually long reign of 50 years (at a time 
when most kings were short-lived), the latter part of which, followin. 
reunification, saw a return to peace and relative prosperity in Egypt. 
Building works at numerous sites - amongst them el-Kab, Gebelein, 
Tod, Deir el-Ballas, Dendera and Abydos - all testify to the stability nov. 
ruling the land. Mentuhotep's greatest project, however, was the temple- 
tomb he erected on the west bank at Thebes, in the impressive great ba 1 . 
of cliffs at Deir el-Bahari, south of his predecessors 7 saff tombs. Why ru 
picked that spot and not the prime position nearby (later chosen by the 

Mentuhotep II 75 

Part of a jubilee scene of 
Mentuhotep II from 
Armant. His throne name, 
Sankhkare, appears in the 
cartouches and the king is 
wearing the Red Crown 
(left) and a nemes 
headdress (right). The 
texts wish him Life, 
Prosperity and Health. 
Brooklyn Museum. 

18th Dynasty Queen Hatshepsut) is a mystery. Nevertheless, the design 
of the temple-tomb was innovative: a great stepped podium with square- 
cut pillars around it, and the next terrace with a hypostyle hall at the 
rear at the base of the cliffs. 

In the plain in front of the temple is the entrance to a deep tunnel 
known as the Bab el-Hosan, the Gate of the Horseman (so-called because 
Howard Carter's horse stumbled into it and led to its discovery). The 
tunnel leads to a chamber beneath the temple which held an impressive 
seated stone statue of the king; he is depicted in the tight white heb-sed 
costume and wearing the Red Crown but with a black face, thereby 
assimilating him to Osiris as an Underworld deity of fertility (p. 73). 

A number of Mentuhotep's high officials - including the chancellor 
Akhtoy, the viziers Dagi and Ipi, and the chief steward Henenu - chose 
to be buried close to their master's tomb, some having also served his 
son. Dagi's splendid limestone sarcophagus had a particularly full ver- 
sion painted on its interior of the Coffin Texts (magic spells introduced 
in the Middle Kingdom, designed to protect the soul of the deceased on 
the journey into the Afterworld, similar to the Pyramid Texts). 

Mentuhotep II 

The long reign of Mentuhotep I was used to good advantage, allowing 
the king to bequeath to his son, Sankhkare Mentuhotep II, the throne of 
a flourishing country. It also meant that Mentuhotep II was relatively 
elderly when he came to power in 2010 bc, and indeed he was only to 
rule for 12 years. Despite the brevity of his reign, the new king contin- 
ued the policy pursued by his predecessors of maintaining a defensive 
attitude towards the neighbours on the northern frontiers, as well as 
looking keenly to the south of the First Cataract to trade goods. 

76 The Middle Kingdom 

Mentuhotep II carried out a number of building works, including tem- 
ples and shrines, and he evidently initiated a series of expeditions to 
gather raw materials. One such excursion in Year 8 of his reign (recorded 
on a long inscription in the Wadi Hammamat) was led by his stewa: 
Henenu, who was sent there to obtain suitable stone for statues to r 
erected in the temples. The expedition seems to have been the first : 
the area for some time, since Henenu took 3000 soldiers with him (an 
that was only after local rebels had been cleared from the road by otru 
troops). Henenu sank a total of 12 wells en route and made sure that h> 
force was adequately provided for, everyone having a leather bottle 
carrying pole, two jars of water and 20 loaves a day,- furthermore, in th. 
hard terrain, 'the asses were laden with sandals 7 . 

After his death in c. 1998 bc, Mentuhotep II was probably buried in 
bay in the cliffs to the south of his father's great monument at Deir el- 
Bahari. Little remains there except for a causeway that apparently en . 
at a sloping passage going into the rock. Hieratic graffiti scratched on t; 
rocks in the area by priests of the mortuary cult at least indicate that th 
king found his resting place somewhere close by. 

Mentuhotep III 

Mentuhotep II is given in both the Saqqara and the Abydos king lists 
the last king of the 1 1th Dynasty, immediately preceding Amenemhet I. 
founder of the 12th Dynasty, but the fragmentary Royal Canon of Tur: 

The Tombs of the 
Royal Ladies 


from the exterior of her sarcophagus. 

In 1920, tne snnnes and shaft tombs 
of six young ,oyai iadies Henhenet 
Kemsit, Kawit, Sadeh, Ashayt and 
Muyet - were found under the 

paver n he back of IV tep I's 

tomb-temple T he youngest, Muyet, was 
only about five years old and none of 
the others were more than 20. 
Henhenet s sarcophdgus was made up 
of six limestone blocks fined together 
on a s< e base, but the lid was 

inscribed for I'awit and clearly aid not 
belong to it. 

Numerous other ro\ 3 were 

buried in tne area too, including Queer, 
i em. whc was the mother of 
Mentunotep I* Sankhkare another of 
Mentuhotep I's queens, Neferu (his 
sister), lay ounea in a comb a little to 
the north. In later year this obstructed 
ihe building of Hatsnepsuf s temple, but 
it was caremlly conserved and obviously 
the object of interest for 18th Dynasty 
tourists. In spite of the earlier visitors, 
Herbert Winlock's excavations 
recovered f ;s of finely carved 

wall reliefs nnd some sad remains of 
Neferu s funerary provision, including 
small wax jshai s 

a lotus, from thr interior oi her 
sarcophagus. Both seum. 

Mentuhotep III 77 

The Wooden Models of 
the Chancellor Meketre 

The tomb of Meketre. chancellor to 
Mentuhotep I, was located near his 
master's, and built according to the 
contemporary fashion with a steeply 
slopir ach ramp and a huge 

entrance with a passage cut deep into 
the cliff face. Although the tomb had 
beer, hea x ily robned and damaged in 
antiquity, investigations conducted by 
Herbert Winlock in 1919-20 revealed 
a small concealed chamber containing 
25 of the most exquisite wooden 
models of daily life that have survived. 
The cache includ >reat cattle 

count model, two fer ehng 

bearers, model butchers' and bakers' 
shops, granaries, weavers and 
carpenters' shops, fishing SKiffs and 
the great man's flotilla, including the 
kitchen tender that obviously must 
have sailed unobtrusively down wind. 
There were even two models of 
Meketre's porticoed house, complete 
with its garden pool by trees. 

The ,n intci 3 sho^ from the tomb of the ( eie in every 

detail, even io ^var;? ^ ,•;./.: t-^r^ 'sov^et-Un :..■;.-; aaa; ■; ■ ?a>: 1 -v--;?-.; VXdV-iur.i-. 

papyrus says that there was a period of seven years without a king after 
Mentuhotep II. Into this lacuna must fit Nebtawyre Mentuhotep III and 
his short reign of about six years. 

Records of this shadowy king are sparse. His name, together with that 
of Amenemhet I, occurs on a fragment of a slate bowl found at Lisht in 
the first nome and must date to the latter's reign as first king of the 12th 
Dynasty. Mentuhotep Ill's vizier and Governor of the South was also 
called Amenemhet, and it seems highly probable that he and 
Amenemhet I are one and the same. The vizier Amenemhet is well 
attested from a long inscription that he left in the Wadi Hammamat. He 
records that he went with an army of 10,000 men into the Wadi to seek 
and retrieve a fine block of stone suitable for the lid of the king's sar- 
cophagus. They were led to the block by a pregnant gazelle which, hav- 
ing dropped its young on to the stone to mark it, was immediately 
sacrificed upon it. A further wonder occurred with a shower of rain. 
Eventually, the huge block was detached from the rock, and 
Amenemhet returned with it to Thebes. Unfortunately neither the tomb 
nor the sarcophagus of Mentuhotep III has ever been found. Perhaps the 
king was never able to use the stone, since it seems that Amenemhet, 
with the backing of his 10,000 men, overthrew his master and pro- 
claimed himself king and thus, in what was rapidly becoming the norm, 
founded a new dynasty. 

78 The Middle Kingdom 










Birth name 

Birth name 



('Amun is at the 

('Amun is at the 



Also known as 

Also known as 

Amenemhat 1, 

Amenemhat II, 

Ammenemes 1 

Ammenemes II 



Throne name 

Throne name 


Nub-kau-re ('Golden 

('Satisfied is the 

are the Souls of 

Heart of Re') 




Pyramid, el-Lisht 

Pyramid, Dahshur 



Birth name 

Birth name 

S-en-usret ('Man of 

S-en-usret ('Man of 

goddess Wosret') 

goddess Wosret') 

Also known as 

Also known as 

Senwosret 1, 

Senwosret II, 

Sesostris 1 (Greek) 

Sesostris II (Greek) 

Throne name 

Throne name 

Kheper-ka-re (The 

Kha-kheper-re (The 

Soul of Re comes 

Soul of Re comes 

into Being') 

into Being') 



Pyramid, el-Lisht 

Pyramid, el-Lahun 

Amenemhet I 


Senusret I 


Amenemhet II 


Senusret II 



Amenemhet I 

According to Manetho, the 12th Dynasty consisted of seven kings fro: 
Thebes. Our present lists agree, with the addition of a que. 
Sobeknefru, at the close of the dynasty. The first king of the dynasty was 
Amenemhet I and, assuming that it was he who had been vizier : 
Mentuhotep III (p. 77), he seems to have risen from humble parents. A 
inscription from Karnak records a 'god's father' Senusret, a commone 
as the father of Amenemhet; his mother, Nefert, came from the area 
Elephantine. Amenemhet was thus of Upper Egyptian origin and his re'.: 
gious allegiance was to the god Amun. It is from this period that Amu 
begins his rise to prominence, taking over from Montu, god of war 
supreme deity at Thebes,- he was to reach his apogee in the 21st Dynasi 
when Herihor, High Priest of Amun, declared himself pharaoh. 

Amenemhet's almost 30-year reign brought a degree of stability 
Egypt that it had not seen for 200 years. It also laid the foundation- 
the strength of the 12th Dynasty, itself to continue for a further two . 
turies until the breakdown under Queen Sobeknefru and the confusn* 
of the Second Intermediate Period. 

Following his enthronement in c. 1991 bc, Amenemhet's first m 



2000 j 









Senusret I 79 

{Left) Granite bust of Senusret I, from 
Memphis. British Museum. 

[Above) Detail of the head of 
Amenemhet I from a painted and carved 
lintel block found in his mortuary 
temple at Lisht. Metropolitan Museum, 
New York. 

(Below) Senusret I embraces the creator 
god Ptah on a pillar from the king's 
destroyed heb-sed temple at Karnak. 
Cairo Museum. 

was to cruise the Nile with his fleet, crushing recalcitrant nomarchs, 
Asiatics and Nubians on the southern frontiers. He then set up a new 
power centre, away from both Thebes and Herakleopolis, almost 20 
miles (32 km) south of the old capital of Memphis. The king chose the 
site so that he might keep a watchful eye on both Upper and Lower 
Egypt, and accordingly called his new city Itj-tawy, 'Seizer-of-the-Two- 
Lands'. The actual site of this fortified city has yet to be found. 

Amenemhet's reign brought many changes, and to emphasize this 
renaissance, the king took the additional title of Wehem-meswet, 
'Repeater-of-Births', implying that he was the first in a new line. 
Amenemhet's most significant act, however, was the introduction of the 
practice of co-regency, an institution that was to endure throughout the 
12th Dynasty. Thus, in Year 20 of his reign, he associated his son 
Senusret with him, and they shared the throne for the ten years before 
Amenemhet's murder. During this period, the younger man was mainly 
in charge of military matters, such as maintaining the eastern and west- 
ern borders and continuing to push to the south. An inscription dated in 
Year 24 of Amenemhet and Year 4 of Senusret, for example, records an 
expedition against the 'sand-dwellers 7 - the Asiatics who lurked on 
Egypt's north-eastern frontier towards the Gaza Strip. 

The royal burial ground was moved once again and now located at 
Lisht, not far from the new capital, at the entrance to the Faiyum. 
Amenemhet's pyramid was similar to those built during the Old 
Kingdom, only smaller. The inner core was constructed with small lime- 
stone blocks, many of them taken from ruined Old Kingdom monu- 
ments at Giza and Abusir, while the exterior was faced with white Tura 
limestone, long since stolen. Likewise, the once finely relief-decorated 
mortuary temple on the east face has been largely destroyed. Little is 
known of the internal arrangements of the pyramid since access is 
denied by ground water seepage,- the burial chamber was probably robbed 
in antiquity, although this has yet to be confirmed. 

Senusret I 

Judging by the The Story of Sinuhe', the young prince Senusret was 
away on an expedition against the Libyans in the western desert when 
Amenemhet was murdered. Senusret obviously hurried back to the capi- 
tal and brought matters swiftly under control: he scotched any further 
attempts to spread the coup, and made arrangements for his father's bur- 
ial at Lisht. The old king's astute decision to rule with his son for a 








Senusret I 79 

Left) Granite bust of Senusret I, from 
Memphis. British Museum. 

Above) Detail of the head of 
Amenemhet I from a painted and carved 

Intel block found in his mortuary 
temple at Lisht. Metropolitan Museum, 
Xew York. 

idow) Senusret I embraces the creator 
god Ptah on a pillar from the king's 
destroyed heb-sed temple at Karnak. 
Cairo Museum. 

was to cruise the Nile with his fleet, crushing recalcitrant nomarchs, 
Asiatics and Nubians on the southern frontiers. He then set up a new 
power centre, away from both Thebes and Herakleopolis, almost 20 
miles (32 km) south of the old capital of Memphis. The king chose the 
site so that he might keep a watchful eye on both Upper and Lower 
Egypt, and accordingly called his new city Itj-tawy, 'Seizer-of-the-Two- 
Lands'. The actual site of this fortified city has yet to be found. 

Amenemhet's reign brought many changes, and to emphasize this 
renaissance, the king took the additional title of Wehem-meswet, 
'Repeater-of-Births', implying that he was the first in a new line. 
Amenemhet's most significant act, however, was the introduction of the 
practice of co-regency, an institution that was to endure throughout the 
12th Dynasty. Thus, in Year 20 of his reign, he associated his son 
Senusret with him, and they shared the throne for the ten years before 
Amenemhet's murder. During this period, the younger man was mainly 
in charge of military matters, such as maintaining the eastern and west- 
ern borders and continuing to push to the south. An inscription dated in 
Year 24 of Amenemhet and Year 4 of Senusret, for example, records an 
expedition against the 'sand-dwellers 7 - the Asiatics who lurked on 
Egypt's north-eastern frontier towards the Gaza Strip. 

The royal burial ground was moved once again and now located at 
Lisht, not far from the new capital, at the entrance to the Faiyum. 
Amenemhet's pyramid was similar to those built during the Old 
Kingdom, only smaller. The inner core was constructed with small lime- 
stone blocks, many of them taken from ruined Old Kingdom monu- 
ments at Giza and Abusir, while the exterior was faced with white Tura 
limestone, long since stolen. Likewise, the once finely relief-decorated 
mortuary temple on the east face has been largely destroyed. Little is 
known of the internal arrangements of the pyramid since access is 
denied by ground water seepage; the burial chamber was probably robbed 
in antiquity, although this has yet to be confirmed. 

Senusret I 

Judging by the The Story of Sinuhe', the young prince Senusret was 
away on an expedition against the Libyans in the western desert when 
Amenemhet was murdered. Senusret obviously hurried back to the capi- 
tal and brought matters swiftly under control: he scotched any further 
attempts to spread the coup, and made arrangements for his father's bur- 
ial at Lisht. The old king's astute decision to rule with his son for a 








De Morgan's excavations in 1895 west 
of Amenemhet IPs pyramid at Dahshur 
revealed splendid jewellery of the royal 
ladies, such as the two circlets of the 
princess Khnumet - one formal [above 
left), the other a delicate chaplet of 
golden water-weeds and flowers [above 
right). Her cowrie shell girdle was 
accompanied by a pectoral with 
Senusret II's cartouche [below right). 
His cartouche was also on a pectoral of 
the princess Sit-Hathor-Yunet [bottom), 
found by Petrie at Lahun, and in the 
king's pyramid there he found a royal 
uraeus [below]. All in Cairo Museum, 
except Sit-Hathor-Yunet's pectoral, in 
Metropolitan Museum, New York. 

decade paid dividends, and Senusret entered on a reign that was to las 
further 34 years. The period from the 20th to the early 19th century bc 
the 12th Dynasty was the zenith of Egyptian literature and craftsma: 
ship, as attested by the remarkable examples of jewellery found in t: 
tombs of the royal ladies at Dahshur and Lahun. 

Senusret I consolidated many of the policies established by his fathc 
Egypt looked to the south for gold and agricultural goods, maintaim: 
its control over the region through a series of at least 13 forts whk 
extended as far as the Second Cataract. Quarries and mines were exploi 
ed throughout the country, with hardstones coming from the Wa< 
Hammamat and gold from the mines near Coptos. Senusret also led va 
ious expeditions to the south and - for the first time - to the desert oas c 

Senusret I 81 

Right) Most of the buildings erected by 
Senusret I have been wrecked or have 
disappeared, but this small processional 
kiosk - a gem of Middle Kingdom 
architecture - has been reconstructed 
from blocks rescued from the interior of 
a later 18th Dynasty pylon at Karnak, 
where they had been used as filling. 

[Above] A detail from one of the pillars 
of the kiosk shows Senusret I offering 
small pots to the ithyphallic fertility 
god Amun-Min. The tall plants behind 
the god, and associated with him, are 
cos lettuce - still, as in antiquity, 
regarded as a potent aphrodisiac. 

The tomb of the High Priest of 
Heliopolis, Imhotep, on the east side of 
^enusret Fs pyramid, produced two 
23-inch (59-cm) high wooden statues of 
:he king holding a tall crook-topped 
[hekat) staff and respectively wearing 
:he Red and the White Crowns. Cairo 
• luseum [left); Metropolitan Museum, 
New York [right). 

as recorded on inscriptions and stele at Beni Hassan and Assuit in 
Middle Egypt. The king's overall control of Egypt is documented at 
almost three dozen sites, from Alexandria to Aswan, where he carried 
out building work. 

In Year 3 of his reign, Senusret rebuilt the temple to Re-Atum at the 
ancient centre of the sun cult, Heliopolis, and he actually appears to 
have performed part of the re-foundation ceremonies there. In Year 30, 
his Jubilee year, he erected two 66-ft (20-m) red granite obelisks there, 
each weighing 121 tons. One of the pair still stands and is the oldest 
standing obelisk in Egypt. Although the temple has entirely disappeared, 
an exceptionally rare and fragmentary leather scroll records part of the 
text from the great dedicatory stele of Senusret, probably copied down as 
a scribal exercise some 500 years afterwards. 

Senusret took Amenemhet II, his son by his chief wife Queen Nefru, 
as co-ruler at least three years before his death, as recorded on a private 
stele of Simontu now in the British Museum. Senusret died in about 
1926 bc, but not before he had built a pyramid at Lisht, a mile south of 
his father's monument. As in Amenemhet Fs pyramid, the burial cham- 
ber is inaccessible due to ground water. Nine small satellite pyramids 
belonging to the royal ladies were also built within the complex. 
Excavations by the Metropolitan Museum, New York between 1908 and 
1934 revealed the names of some of the tomb owners, but others lacked 
any identifying inscriptions on their sarcophagi or funerary equipment. 
Queen Nefru's pyramid, slightly larger than the others, stood in the 
south-east corner and that of Senusret ; s daughter Itekuyet was to the 
south of the king's pyramid. Other daughters probably included the 
princesses Nefru-Sobek, Nefru-Ptah and Nenseddjedet. 


82 The Middle Kingdom 

Amenemhet II 

¥^' ; .;;v:^sf:i 

It is during the early 12th Dynasty 
that two of the greatest texts of 
Egyptian literature were composed. In 
'The Instructions of Amenemhet' 
(known from seven papyri copies of 
later date), the ghost of Amenemhet 
reveals himself in a dream to his son 
and successor Senusret I, giving him 
good advice and warning him not to 
be too intimate with hio people The 
ghost describes how, as the old king, 
he was attacked and murdered by his 
guard while resting on his bed after 

The other composition, 'The Siory 
of Sinuhe', is known from many 
Middle and m hieratic 

oapyh and on limestone ostraka (the 
largest, in Oxford, is boulder-size). It 
was evidently used as a set text in 
the ancient Egyptian classroom. 
Although obviously fictitious, the 
political part of the story is grounded 
in fact, and the sociological aspects 
give an excellent picture of the life 
and aspirations of an emigre 
Egyptian. Sinuhe, a young man 
brought up in the palace, overhears 
conspi, gto kill the king 

ano, fearing chat ne might be 
implicated ilees into the desert, 
makmg nis way to Palestine and 
Syria, (interestingly, he mentions by 
name some of the forts he slips 
oast, thereby indicating Egypt's 
military awareness of her easTern 
neighbours.) Sinuhe is well received 
by the Palestinian Prince of Retjenu 
ne marries well, has children and 
grows old, but he fears to die outside 
Egypt. The story ends happily when 
he is recalled + o Fgypt by Senusret J, 
granted honours and a tomb. 

Senusret was succeeded after his death c. 1926 bc by his son Amenemhu 
II, who continued the longevity of the family with a reign of 34 years, 
was around this time that the Egyptians first began to recognize I 
opportunities available in the Faiyum area for hunting, fishing and cult 
vating, and it was thus to render the irrigation system more effect:' 
that the great Bahr Yusuf canal that feeds the Faiyum from the Nile wj 
widened and deepened. 

The foreign policy of Amenemhet II 

Amenemhet II strove mainly to consolidate the work of his predecx- 
in foreign affairs, although there are records of an expedition to the 
Sea and, in Year 28, of another to the Land of Punt (p. 106). There : 
ample evidence of the exchange of diplomatic gifts between Egypt ; 
the Levant during this period. Jewellery bearing the king's cartouche ' 
been found in the royal tombs at Byblos in Lebanon (especially in tha: 
the local prince, Ipshemuabi), together with local copies of typical 12t 
Dynasty jewellery. In Egypt, a great treasure was discovered in the foil 
dations of the temple of Montu at Tod, just south of Luxor (Thebes), cc 
sisting of four bronze boxes inscribed on the lid in hieroglyphs with tl 
name of Amenemhet II. The boxes contained a large number of silv< 
cups of Levantine and Aegean origin, as well as Babylonian cylinc 
seals and lapis lazuli amulets from Mesopotamia. The whole hoard 
probably either a diplomatic gift or tribute,- the silver cups represents 
an extremely high intrinsic value at the time, since silver was far mi 
precious than gold in Egypt. 

There is also an apparent increase at this time in the number 
Levantine names recorded in Egypt, presumably belonging to th 
brought in as domestic servants. Contacts with Crete to the north- we 
across the 'Great Green 7 [wdj-wr], as the Egyptians called 
Mediterranean, are evident from Egyptian finds in Crete at Kno— 
(including the lower half of a statue of a man named User) and typic 
Minoan pottery - Kamares ware - in Egypt, at town sites such as Lahi 
and in a tomb at Abydos. 

Amenemhet II built his pyramid at Dahshur to the east of the ear 
4th Dynasty pyramids of Snefru. Why he should have turned to that - 
is not known, although the choice may have been connected with 
building projects close by in the Faiyum. All that now remains of 
pyramid is a great mass of eroded mud brick, originally the core 
pyramid some 263 ft (80 m) square. 

Senusret II 

Continuing the family tradition of alternating names, Senusret II 
ceeded his father Amenemhet II in about 1895 bc, having been assocr 
ed with his father as co-regent for at least three years. His reign \\\. 

Senusret II 83 


bove) Seated diorite statue of Senusret 
- a young man, found in the 
:avations of the temple at Nag-el- 
.-damoud, north of Thebes. Cairo 

peaceful one, in which he continued the expansion of cultivation in the 
Faiyum and established a good rapport with the provincial elites. Indeed, 
inscriptions in the great tombs of the nomarchs at Beni Hassan in Middle 
Egypt (especially that of Khnumhotep II), bear witness to their cordial 
relations with the king and the honours he had bestowed upon them. 

Senusret II chose to build his pyramid at Lahun, once again essential- 
ly of mudbrick that became heavily eroded when the outer limestone 
casing was gone. An innovation in an attempt to beat the tomb robbers 
was the location of the pyramid entrance in the surrounding pavement 
on the south (instead of the usual north) side, rather than in the actual 
structure. Even this failed to deter the looters, although in 1889 Flinders 
Petrie did find in the flooded burial chamber a marvellous gold and 
inlaid royal uraeus that must have come from the king's despoiled 
mummy (p. 80). 

Returning to the site in 1913, Petrie excavated four shaft-tombs 
belonging to members of the royal family in a gulley on the south side of 
the pyramid. All had been robbed, but one, that of the princess Sit- 
Hathor-Yunet, produced a vast collection of personal jewellery and cos- 
metic items which had been placed in three ebony caskets in a side-wall 
niche. Due to the early flooding of the tomb the niche had filled up with 
mud and the robbers, who had smashed into the princess's sarcophagus, 
missed the hoard. Amongst the group were two extremely fine gold 
inlaid pectorals and a delightful diadem with tall thin gold plumes and 
inlaid rosettes on the headband (p. 80). 

Near the pyramid Petrie found the 'pyramid town' built for the work- 
ers employed on the construction. Now known as Kahun, its original 
name was Hetep-Senusret - 'Senusret is satisfied'. Kahun was like an 
Egyptian Pompeii since it seems to have been suddenly abandoned, with 
many possessions left behind. Excavations at the site yielded fascinating 
new information about the social and economic life of the ancient 
Egyptians - the differences in prosperity within the community were 
revealed by the varying sizes and quality of the houses. Dozens of papyri 
- covering a great range of topics from accounts and legal texts to gynae- 
cological and veterinary treatises - shed new light on the administration 
and logistics of a multi-racial and disciplined work force. 

Above) Black granite statue of Nofret, 
hief queen of Senusret II, found at 
Ls. The queen wears a pectoral 
incorporating her husband's cartouche) 
>! similar workmanship to those of his 

.. enters found at Dahshur and Lahun 

Hll. Cairo Museum. 

Right) The mud brick inner structure of 
cnusret II 's pyramid at Lahun was 
:abilized by stone cross walls. Once the 
iiter limestone casing had been robbed, 
ever, the inner core swiftly 
• j ri orated. 

84 The Middle Kingdom 









Senusret III 



Amenemhet III 



Amenemhet IV 



Queen Sobeknefru 






Birth name 

Birth name 

S-en-usret ('Man of 

As above 

goddess Wosret') 

Throne name 

Also known as 

Maa-kheru-re (True 

Senwosret III, 

of Voice is Re') 

Sesostris III (Greek) 


Throne name 




('Appearing like the 

(S. Dahshur) 

Souls of Re') 



Pyramid, Dahshur 

Birth name 



('Beautiful of the 

Birth name 

god Sobek') 


Also known as 

('Amun is at the 



Throne name 

Also known as 

Sobek-ka-re ('Sobek 

Amenemhat III, 

is the Soul of Re') 

Ammenemes III 




Throne name 



(S. Dahshur) 

('Belonging to the 

Justice of Re') 


Pyramid, Hawara 

Senusret III 

Senusret came to the throne in about 1878 bc, and is thought tc 
reigned for 37 years. He is probably the best known, visually, of . 
Middle Kingdom pharaohs with his brooding, hooded-eyed and car. 
portraits, carved mainly in hard black granite. In Middle Kingdom 
portrait sculpture there is a move away from the almost bland, g 
and complacent representations of the Old Kingdom to a more ru„ 
likeness. Part of this stems from the realization that the king, alt:" 
still a god on earth, is nevertheless concerned with the earthly wt 
his people. The Egyptians no longer placed huge emphasis and res* 
on erecting great monuments to the king's immortal hereafter, 
rather inferior Middle Kingdom pyramids show. Instead, greater er 
sis was placed on agricultural reforms and projects, best exempli: 
the great Bahr Yusuf canal (p. 82). 

Manetho describes Senusret as a great warrior, and unusually 
tions that the king was of great height: '4 cubits 3 palms 2 fin 
breadth 7 - over 6 ft 6 in (2 m). His commanding presence must 
helped the success of his internal reforms in Egypt. Most nota." 
managed to curtail the activities of the local nomarchs, whose influc 

LY-waVY u 








Senusret III 85 

Seated black granite statue of 
^cnusret III, immediately identifiable by 
distinctive world-weary features and 
confirmed by the cartouche that is 
„jrved on his belt. Cairo Museum. 

had once again risen to challenge that of the monarchy, by creating a 
new system of government that subjugated the autonomy of the 
nomarchs. The king divided the country into three administrative 
departments - the North, the South and the Head of the South 
(Elephantine and Lower Nubia) - each administered by a council of 
senior staff which reported to a vizier. 

Senusret III as military leader 

With the internal stability of the country assured, Senusret III was able 
to concentrate on foreign policy. He initiated a series of devastating 
campaigns in Nubia quite early in his reign, aimed at securing Egypt's 
southern borders against incursions from her bellicose neighbours and at 
safeguarding access to trade routes and to the mineral resources of 
Nubia. To facilitate the rapid and ready access of his fleets he had a 
bypass canal cut around the First Cataract at Aswan. A canal had existed 
here in the Old Kingdom, but Senusret III cleared, broadened and deep- 
ened it, repairing it again in Year 8 of his reign, according to an inscrip- 
tion. Senusret was forced to bring the Nubians into line on several 
occasions, in Years 12 and 15 of his reign, and he was clearly proud of his 
military prowess in subduing the recalcitrant tribes. A great stele at 
Semna (now in Berlin) records, 'I carried off their women, I carried off 
their subjects, went forth to their wells, smote their bulls: I reaped their 

[Left] Red granite head of Senusret III, 
one of the most powerful portraits of the 
king. Found at Karnak in 1970. Luxor 

[Right] Stele of Senusret III from 
Elephantine, with his name in both a 
cartouche and a serekh, that records 
building work on the fortress there 
during military activities to the south in 
Kush. British Museum. 


86 The Middle Kingdom 

Two of Queen Mereret's pectorals 
deserve special attention for their 
workmanship. A cartouche on the first 
[top] indicates that this splendid piece 
was given to her by her husband 
Senusret III, but the second [above], a 
gift from her son Amenemhet III 
(evidencing that she outlived her 
husband), is of inferior workmanship 
and its design exhibits a horror vacui 
that detracts from the iconography and 
symbolism of the piece. From Dahshur; 
Cairo Museum. 

grain, and set fire thereto 7 . He pushed Egypt's boundary further - 
than any of his forebears and left an admonition for future kings: 
as for every son of mine who shall maintain this boundary, whk 
Majesty has made, he is my son, he is born of My Majesty, the li* 
of a son who is the champion of his father, who maintains the bourn 
of him that begat him. Now, as for him who shall relax it, and sh. 
fight for it; he is not my son, he is not born to me/ No wonder Sl" 
was worshipped as a god in Nubia by later generations, or that his 
and grandsons maintained their inheritance. 

Although most of Senusret's military energies were directed ;. . 
Nubia, there is also record of a campaign in Syria - but it seems : 
been more one of retribution and to gain plunder than to extern 
Egyptian frontiers in that direction. 

The king as builder 

Much of the wealth acquired in the Nubian campaigns was din 
towards the temples in Egypt and their renewal. An inscription 
Abydos of the official Ikhernofret tells of the king's commission : 
refurbish Osiris's barge, shrine and chapels with gold, electrum 
lazuli, malachite and other costly stones. A series of six life-size _ 
standing figures of the king wearing the nemes headdress were err 
sioned for the temple of Mentuhotep I at Deir el-Bahari, Thebes, i 
they lined the lower terrace. Local graffiti record the maintenaru 
large body of priests associated with the cult of Amun, indicatir.. 
although the capital and burial ground of the kings had moved I 
north, interest and respect were still maintained for the religion 
of Thebes. 

Just to the north of Karnak (Thebes) at Nag-el-Medamoud, Senua 
erected a large temple to the old god of the Theban area, the v. 
Montu. Remodelled in the New Kingdom, and also later in Pt 
and Roman times, the Middle Kingdom structure has disapr 
although the remains of two finely carved granite gateways of the 
nal temple were found in 1920, together with some splendid star;. 
other inscriptions. 

A finely detailed relief from the temple 
of Medamoud, north of Thebes, shows 
the heb-sed festival of Senusret III with 
the king seated in the special pavilion 
and wearing respectively the Red Crown 
of Lower Egypt and the White Crown of 
Upper Egypt. Cairo Museum. 

From Amenemhet III to Queen Sobeknefru 87 

Military Activity in 

" -e Egyptians focused their military 
aspirations on Nubia (or Kush as they 
called it) during much of the 12th 
: sty, and sought to reinforce the 
-ier with a series of forts. Some of 
*.nese were founded by Senusret I and 
!l. but the majority were built by 
re-usret ill. Papyrus dispatches from 
= )eriod report the slightest move- 
ments within the area, and one lists 
13 fortresses between Elephantine 

an) - the official southern 
boundary of Egypt - and Semna far to 

e south at the end of the Second 
Cataract. Seven of these fortresses 
*ere located within the 40-mile (64- 
stretch of the Second Cataract 
tself, and all were built in strategic 
Dositions with thick mud-brick walls. 

Z je to the imminent destruction of 
many of these sites during the 

: ing of Nubia in the 1960s when 
Lake Nasser was created/ 


: \ -*^ :;^S^Mg%^ Jf^s^' 

1 -~ i 1 

• • • ^ '\mw~r ', i 

i *M ' * 'i " 



HpH~ '■:■.' 



* - 

medievc oarts with enfs re bastions by some 3200 years. 

international rescue excavations 
revealed much Information about them. 
They were evidently big enough to be 
self-sufficient and to house all the 
necessary personnel - their like 
unparalleled until the great fortifications 
of medieval r urope. Sadly, the huge 

round *on towers, complete with 

arrow slits covering angles of fire 
across a wide ditch, of the great fort: 
at -Buhi-en were excavated only to be 
lost once more under some 200 ft 
(61 m) of water of the lake formed by 
the Great High Dan, at Aswan. 

Senusret III built his pyramid in the Middle Kingdom cemetery at 
Dahshur. At 350 ft (107 m) square it is the largest of the 12th Dynasty 
pyramids, but the disappearance of the limestone casing has caused the 
mudbrick core to deteriorate severely. Like his father, he also attempted 
to conceal the entrance, this time under the paving of the surrounding 
court on the west side. Needless to say, the device was ineffective 
against tomb robbers. Excavations by Jacques de Morgan in 1894-95 in 
the northern section of Senusret's pyramid enclosure revealed the tombs 
of his queen, Mereret, and the princess Sit-Hathor - his sister and possi- 
bly wife. Both tombs produced some fine jewellery which survived 
because it was placed elsewhere in the tomb and not on the subsequent- 
ly rifled mummies. 

From Amenemhet III to Queen Sobeknefru 

Senusret's son, Amenemhet III, reigned for 45 years and, like his father, 
he left a series of portraits remarkable for their individuality and fine 
work. His reign was the apogee of economic growth in the Middle 
Kingdom. Interest in the agricultural potential of the Faiyum increased, 
and a huge temple was erected to the local crocodile god, Sobek, at 
Kiman Faris where he is associated with the falcon, Horus the Elder. 
Above all, Amenemhet III exploited the quarries of Egypt and the 
turquoise mines in Sinai. There are more than 50 rock inscriptions in 

The Middle Kingdom 

[Above] The softer features of a 
limestone statue of Amenemhet III from 
Hawara - the location of his pyramid - 
contrast with the strength of his priestly 
representation found not far away at 
Medinet el-Fayum [below right). Cairo 

Sinai recording almost continual mining expeditions between Year* 
and 45 of his reign. 

It is a curious fact that, despite his long reign, there are very 
inscriptions of Amenemhet III from Egypt itself: over 90 per ceiv 
from outside the country, e.g. from Sinai. They do, however, give a t 
able insight into his reign and provide long lists of officials and wo: 
the quarries. 

Amenemhet's pyramids 

An unusual feature of Amenemhet's reign, not seen since the 
Kingdom under Snefru, was that he built two pyramids for himself. C 
at Dahshur was 342 ft (104 m) square, the other at Hawara was 
(102 m) square. The first must have been abandoned since the kin. 
buried at Hawara, where his pyramid and the large associated stn:. 
on the south side of the pyramid, his mortuary temple, attracted t 
attention of several of the classical writers. From Herodotus (mid-t: 
century bc) onwards, the great 1000 by 800 ft (305 x 244 m) buildin : 
hailed as a wonder, a veritable labyrinth to be compared with the 
structure at Knossos, Crete. Strabo described its many rooms and l 
dors in minute detail, but when Petrie excavated the devastated siti 
1888-89, he had the greatest difficulty in reconciling the few archi 
tural details he uncovered with Strabo's description, so great w 
ancient destruction. 

Amenemhet's pyramid, as usual for the period, was built of mudb: 
and cased with limestone. Once more the entrance was moved for 
concealment and was located off-centre on the pyramid's south 
The internal arrangement of Amenemhet's pyramid was quite exti ;. 
nary, with dead-end passages, concealed trapdoors and sliding pan . 
passage roofs. A complicated series of three quartzite blocks topp. 
two relieving chambers of limestone blocks and a huge brick arch 
all completed the arrangements. The burial chamber was a vast bl 
quartzite (22 x 8 ft, 7 x 2.5 m), hollowed out like a lidless box, whk 

[Left] Detail of the 
cartouches of 
Amenemhet III on the 
shoulder of a black 
granite lion-maned 
sphinx with the king's 
face, from Tanis. Cairo 

[Right] Amenemhet III 
is represented in a 
unique statue as a 
setem -priest with the 
appropriate regalia of 
heavy wig and necklace 
and wearing a leopard- 
skin cloak. From 
Medinet el-Fayum. 
Cairo Museum. 

%rf' tff 

From Amenemhet III to Queen Sobeknefru 89 

\ the outer limestone casing of the 
Idle Kingdom pyramids was robbed 
. the mudbrick interior core soon 
t:c an eroded mass, as here with 
umid of Amenemhet III at 


; ' ""**." 7'"''-** ■ 

.' V'--_- ; ' 

been sunk into the ground and the pyramid built over it. Within the 
box/burial chamber were two quartzite sarcophagi, the larger for the 
king, the smaller for his daughter the princess Neferu-Ptah, together 
with their quartzite canopic chests. When the burials had been complet- 
ed, the chamber was sealed by a single roofing slab of some 45 tons and 
then everything was backfilled to remove all traces. The internal securi- 
ty arrangements (reminiscent of the false doors and trapdoors seen in 
some curse-of-the-mummy-type films) should have been impenetrable, 
yet robbers still managed to penetrate the tomb, ravage the bodies and 
burn the wooden coffins. 

.■■■■ -.., ■-— ■■-■ l ^& 
1 , " ' 


light blue glazed steatite cylinder seal 
gives the name of Queen Sobeknefru in 
..rtouche, followed by her Horus 
::ie The female Hawk, Beloved of Re 7 , 
.i serekh with, beneath, her titles as 
distress of the South and North'. 
:ish Museum. 

The end of the dynasty 

Amenemhet III was the last great ruler of the Middle Kingdom, as 
numerous inscriptions on monuments from Syria to the Third Cataract 
on the Nile testify. Little is known about his successor, Amenemhet IV. 
It is even possible that he did not reign independently but only as co- 
regent with his elderly father. It is presumed that he died prematurely 
and that a queen, Sobeknefru, acted as regent, apparently ruling later in 
her own right for a short time. Neither Amenemhet IV nor Queen 
Sobeknefru feature much in the written records. No pyramid definitely 
ascribed by inscriptions is known for either ruler, although it has been 
suggested that two pyramids located about 3 miles (4.8 km) south of 
Dahshur at Mazghuna might belong to them. This theory is based on the 
fact that the structures appear to be more sophisticated technically than 
the Hawara pyramid of Amenemhet III and should therefore be later. 
Since there are no other known rulers between Amenemhet III and the 
end of the dynasty, the theory may be correct. 

90 The Second Intermediate Period 







0^)1 1782-1778 


Ameny Intef IV 

(Amenemhet V) 

(? )-1760 



Sobekhotep II 

(Amenemhet VI) 


© ^ <= )l Sekhemre Khutawy 


Wj Khendjer 













Sobekhotep III 

Sekhemre Sewadjta^v 


Neferhotep I 


Sobekhotep IV 





Neferhotep II 

Sekhemre Sankhtaw 

The transition to the 13th Dynasty seems to have been a smooth 
despite the successional difficulties suggested by the presence 
woman on the throne at the end of the 12th Dynasty. Ten kings are 
ed for the new dynasty, which lasted for about 70 years, and they appei 
to have kept a degree of control over both Upper and Lower Egypt, - 
ruling from Itj-tawy near the Faiyum, until the reign of the penultir 
king, Merneferre Ay (c. 1720 bc). Indeed, the internal chaos ascribed 
the period in earlier literature is not so extreme as was once thouf 







0H>i*s"n i - 

../VW^rV j.o 

Wegaf to Neferhotep II 91 



('Pleasing to the 

3 nh name 

god Sobek') 


Throne name 

: -re name 

Sekh-em-re Se-wadj- 

Khu-tawy-re ('Re 

tawy ('Powerful is 

Protects the Two 

Re, He makes to 


Flourish the Two 



■ '^ame 


Ameny Intef Amen- 

Birth name 

--het ('Ameny 


■-.ef. Amun is at 

('Beautiful and 

e Head') 


Throne name 

Also known as 

r3'^kh-ib-re (The 

Neferhotpe 1 

Heart of Re Lives') 

Throne name 



('Powerful is the 

-.'i name 

Soul of Re') 


Throne name 


Auy-ib-re ('Re 

Birth name 

Succours the 



('Pleasing to the 


god Sobek') 


Throne name 



('Beautiful is the 

Birth name 

Soul of Re') 


Sobek-hotep ('Amun 


s at the Head, 

Birth name 

z easing to the god 



Also known as 

50 known as 


Sebekhotpe II 

Throne name 

■one name 


5ekh-em-re Khu- 

('Beautiful is the 

tawy ('Powerful is 

Desire of Re') 

Re, Protector of the 

Two Lands') 



Birth name 



('Beautiful and 



t'7 name 

Throne name 


Sekh-em-re S-ankh- 

" -one name 

tawy ('Powerful is 

-ser-ka-re (The 

Re, Giver of Life to 

Soul of Re is 

the Two Lands') 




Pyramid, South 

Birth name 



Throne name 


Aa-seh-re ('Great in 

: -th name 

Council is Re') 


central government was sustained during most of the dynasty and the 
country remained relatively stable. Evidence in the shape of inscriptions 
recording the Nile levels during some of the 13th Dynasty reigns indi- 
cates that a presence was maintained in the south, which says much for 
the strength of monarchical authority to the north. 

The true chronology of the 13th Dynasty is rather hard to ascertain 
since there are few monuments dating from the period; many of the 
kings 7 names are known only from an odd fragmentary inscription or, a 
little later in the period, from scarabs. Merneferre Ay was the last king of 
the dynasty to be mentioned by name on monuments in Upper and 
Lower Egypt, and it seems that the eastern Delta broke away under its 
own petty kings about the time of his death. The confusion that fol- 
lowed is evident from the tales of woe in the contemporary papyri. 

Our knowledge of the first few monarchs is rather scanty, but the bur- 
ial of Hor, the third king, was found at Dahshur near the pyramid of 
Amenemhet III. This site was presumably chosen to indicate solidarity 
and continuity with the previous dynasty. According to the fragmentary 
Royal Canon of Turin papyrus, Hor's reign lasted only a matter of 
months, and his burial was relatively poor and low-key. Nevertheless it 
was intact and yielded a wooden shrine enclosing an impressive life-size 
wooden A^-statue of the king (p. 92). 

At Saqqara there are four small, originally limestone-cased, brick 
pyramids ascribed to kings of the period, one at least to be identified 
with the fifth ruler Khendjer Userkare. Gustave Jequier, the Swiss exca- 
vator, found very well-preserved internal arrangements within this pyra- 
mid. Its entrance passage, from the west face, was protected by two great 
quartzite portcullises, after which a complicated system of small pas- 
sages eventually led to the burial chamber which had been hollowed out 
of a monolithic block of quartzite. Despite all these precautions, the rob- 
bers succeeded in reaching the chamber and effecting a small entry 
through the hard stone, although it is unclear whether there had ever 
been a burial within it. The identity of the builder was only revealed 
when fragments of palm-shaped columns found in the nearby mortuary 
temple produced cartouches of Khendjer. Jequier also found the king's 
inscribed black granite pyramidion, badly smashed, in the temple ruins. 
Within a nearby enclosure were three burial shafts leading to under- 
ground rooms, each with a roughly finished quartzite sarcophagus, and 
there was also a small brick-core pyramid. All were, no doubt, intended 
for royal ladies, but were apparently never used. Graffiti on some blocks 
indicated a reign of four years for King Khendjer. 

\;.r«'-i\:X?{ 14 ^UK,!^:-.'.;.,,.; r - #:;■:., ,/;:,; :-T'-\Nv-.TY %3] 








92 The Second Intermediate Period 

Around the middle of the dynasty three brothers - Neferhot 
Sobekhotep IV and Sihathor seem to have reigned, although the last m* 
not actually have been a king, but merely a prince. Evidence of overse 
connections is furnished by inscriptions and a relief from Bybh - 
Neferhotep with his vassal, Yantin Prince of Byblos, seated before h 
there are also records of an expedition to the mines of the eastern de- 
Neferhotep's son, Wahneferhotep, is known from a wooden usha 
found at Lisht (now in New York), but he presumably predeceased r 
father. Several large red granite statues of Sobekhotep survive, thr e 
them found at Tanis in the Delta where they were probably taken l 
from Memphis or Avaris (Tell el-Daba) later in the 21st or 22nd Dyna<: 

Coincidental with the last years of the 13th Dynasty, the ot> 
14th Dynasty ruled from the eastern Delta. It lasted for some 57 v. 
although only two kings are known from contemporary monuments. 

[Right] The life-size wooden Ad-statue of 
King Hor from Dahshur has the upraised 
arms of the ka (soul) sign on its head 
and is made remarkably lifelike by the 
use of rock crystal and white quartz in a 
copper surround to represent the eyes. 
Cairo Museum. 

[Far right) Red granite life-size seated 
statue of Sobekhotep IV, a rare royal 
statue of the period. Louvre, Paris. 

s " > ^~~ 

r ~ ~ J 

[ri^ASTif.5 15/ -6 
Dvna-STy" : ■> 









Sheshi to Kamose 93 

DYNASTY 15 (Hyksos) 



3j Sheshi 






i^v l 






aj Apepil 



wm A P e P in 

-^ — nj Aqenenre 



ijgg^S Anather 



DYNASTY 17 (Thebes) 



Sobekemsaf II 

Sekhemre Shedtawy 

Jg)j IntefVII 




I I ! 

® t^ss 



■ i| - /v^v^N D Li 









scarabs [left to right) of Sheshi, Khyan 
and Apepi I. 

The ephemeral kings of the 14th Dynasty were not the only group to set 
themselves up alongside the main house at the end of the 13th Dynasty: 
a series of Semitic kings was beginning to assume control in the eastern 
desert and Delta regions of Egypt. These rulers, the 15th Dynasty, are 
known as the Hyksos, 'Desert Princes' (Hikau-khoswet), often inaccu- 
rately referred to as the 'Shepherd Kings'. 

Manetho's account of this period is preserved at great length in 







:V^A£rt ;i.B 






94 The Second Intermediate Period 




Birth name 

Birth name 



Throne name 

('Sobek is his 

Ma-yeb-re ('Seeing 


is the Heart of Re') 

Also known as 

Sebekemzaf II 


Throne name 

Birth name 

Sekh-em-re Shed- 


tawy ('Powerful is 

Throne name 

Re, Rescuer of the 

Mer-user-re ('Strong 

Two Lands') 

is the Love of Re') 



Birth name 

Birth name 



Also known as 

Also known as 

Inyotef VII 


Throne name 

Throne name 



('Golden is the 

('Powerful like Re') 

Manifestation of 


APEPI l-ll 

Birth name 

TAO l-ll 


Birth name 

Also known as 


Apophis 1, II (Greek) 

Also known as 

Throne name (1) 

Taa 1, II 

Au-ser-re ('Great 

Throne name (1) 

and Powerful like 



('Perpetuated like 

Throne name (II) 


Aqen-en-re ('Spirit 

Throne name (II) 

of Re') 

Seqen-en-re ('Who 

strikes like Re') 


Birth name 


Heka Khaswt 

Birth name 

Anather ('Ruler of 


the Desert Lands 

Throne name 



('Flourishing is the 


Manifestation of 

Birth name 



Contra Apionem by the Jewish historian Josephus, but it must 
remembered that Manetho was writing as a Graeco-Egyptian about : 
greatest disaster that ever struck ancient Egypt: rule by foreign nat: 
als. While later Egyptian records suggest a great invasion of a despera: 
horde through the eastern Delta, in reality Semitic immigrants had bcL : 
steadily entering Egypt for some time. This is evident not only from I 
names recorded on Middle Kingdom stele and in some lists of servant' 
but also from the 12th Dynasty paintings of Asiatics in the tomb of : 
noble Khnumhotep II at Beni Hassan in Middle Egypt. These settle 
gradually acquired increasing authority, but it was not until late in : 
18th century bc that they began to extend their rule beyond their base i 
Avaris (the modern Tell el-Daba, currently being excavated by Maniu 
Bietak of the University of Vienna). 

The five (possibly six) main Hyksos rulers identified by Manetho <= 
allocated a span of 108 years in the Turin papyrus, the lengths of the 
individual reigns being uncertain. Unfortunately, most of the T. 
papyrus is damaged, and the figure given for Sheshi, the nomir 
founder, may be 13 or 23 years,- likewise his successor, Yakubher, 
have reigned for either 8 or 18 years. The longest reigning king war- 
fourth in the sequence, Auserre Apepi I (also known as Apophis), wii 
ruled for about 40 years. 

The Hyksos sacked the Egyptian capital of Memphis in about 172 
but they still preferred to operate from their eastern Delta strongh 
such as Avaris and Tell el-Yahudiyeh. Appropriately for a people as- 
ated with the desert, they chose as their pre-eminent deity a god of d 
desert wastes, Seth. They also introduced other foreign gods and - 
desses from their Phoenician homelands, such as the me: 
goddess, Astarte, and the storm and war god, Reshep. 

Diplomatic relations outside Egypt 

At Tell el-Daba (Avaris) in the north-eastern Delta, there is evide 
from the recent excavations of terrible destruction wrought upon 
palaces there. Incredible Minoan-style wall-painting fragments (w 
might even predate the Minoan frescoes at Knossos on Crete) have 
found scattered in a garden area at the site, testifying not only t 
intensity of the onslaught but, more importantly, to connection- 
the Minoan artistic world. Another Cretan connection is a circa 
alabaster jar lid found in the palace of Knossos, inscribed with the . 
touche of the third Hyksos king, Khyan. His name has also been found 
a graffito inscription scratched on the shoulder of a red granite Mid 
Kingdom couchant sphinx which was, curiously, found in Bag: 
Khyan is better known from inscribed material than his brother kir 
most of whom are only known from scarabs (which are the characu 
tic artifacts of the dynasty). 

Records for the period of the Hyksos are sparse, probably due to 
main factors. First, their influence was largely confined to the Del: 
the northern areas of Egypt, where they had their centre of auth 

Sheshi to Kamose 95 

cavations at Tell-el-Daba in the 
istem Delta [right, late Hyksos period] 
e produced a remarkable series of 
: jd wall plaster fragments, many of 
. i have close parallels with well- 
Mi Minoan frescoes from Knossos, 
g. the bull-leaping sports where an 
hlete somersaults over the back of a 
dng bull [below). 

New Innovations in 

f military expertise of the Hyksos 
Dubtedly contributed greatly to 
:neir ability to overcome so rapidly 

Egyptian resistance. Not only did 
they introduce the horse and chariot 
to warfare, giving them a huge 

ileal advantage, but they were 
5 so skilled archers. The Egyptians 
e quick to recognize the 
" cortance of these new methods of 
warfare, and both the bow and the 
- ; ot were utilized a gnat deas in 
:onquests of the New Kingdom 

Secondly, to have foreign rulers was regarded as a terrible thing in 
ancient Egypt and - once the essential equilibrium had been restored - 
there was a definite movement of damnatio memoriae, and Hyksos 
monuments would have been obliterated or destroyed. 

The ephemeral 16th Dynasty (minor kings who almost certainly oper- 
ated in the shadow of and by the authority of the Hyksos rulers at 
Avaris) produces only two names - Anather and Yakobaam - which do 
not occur in cartouches and are largely only known from scarabs found 
in northern Egypt and southern Palestine. 

The rise of the 17th Dynasty 

While the Hyksos kings assumed control in the north of the country, a 
new line of rulers, the 17th Dynasty, was evolving in Thebes. The 
Theban kings ruled an area from Elephantine to Abydos, and in spite of 
the scant resources at their disposal they largely succeeded in preserving 
the culture of the Middle Kingdom. The earlier rulers of the dynasty 
made no apparent attempt to challenge the authority of the Hyksos, and 
an uneasy truce existed between the two lineages for some time. 
Evidence of this comes from a fragmentary letter (now in the British 
Museum) in which the Hyksos king Apepi I complains to his Theban 
counterpart Seqenenre Tao that he was unable to sleep in Avaris because 

96 The Second Intermediate Period 

{Right} The terrible wounds on 
Seqenenre 's skull were caused by at 
least two people attacking him with a 
dagger, an axe, a spear and possibly a 
mace. The horizontal nature of four of 
the five wounds indicate that he was 
lying on his right side, either asleep or 
having been felled by a blow. The body 
was hurriedly embalmed (perhaps on the 
battlefield) without the usual careful 
preparation and straightening of limbs. 
Cairo Museum. 

of the roaring of hippopotami 500 miles (800 km) away at Thelx- 
suggests that Seqenenre do something about it. Sadly, the end of tht 
is not preserved. Later members of the Theban dynasty were nn 
tant, and rose against the Hyksos in a series of battles which were 
tually to force the interlopers from Egypt. Seqenenre himself 
probably killed in one of the battles since his mummy, discovered i 
royal cache at Deir el-Bahari in 1881, shows evidence of terrible 
about the head. His death was not in vain, for it was one of h\> 
Ahmose, who was finally to drive out the Hyksos and found th 

Many of the first kings of the 1 7th Dynasty were known as In i 
their large and heavy coffins with vulture- wing feathered dee* : 
(called rishi coffins) have been found at Thebes in the area of : 
Abu el-Naga on the west bank. The tombs themselves were poc 

{Left) Several coffins are known for the 
Intef kings, but they are difficult to 
distinguish. This example may have 
belonged to Intef VII (Nubkheperre). 
British Museum. 

[Right] A hard green-stone heart scarab 
set in a gold surround inscribed on its 
base with Chapter 30B of the Book of 
the Dead and the cartouche of a king 
Sobekemsaf, possibly the same whose 
tomb was robbed by the stone mason 
Amun-pnufer around 1 124 bc. British 

Sheshi to Kamose 97 

The Autobiography of 
Ahm< >se, Son of Ebana 

e noble Ahmose came from a 
military family. His father had served 

"der Seqenenre li, and Ahmose 
himself entered the army as a young 

an. In his aut 3hy (inscribed 

:n the walls of his tomb at el-Kab) he 

anted the world to know how he had 
served under three successive kings: 
' nmose I, Amenhotep 1 and 
Tuthmosis I, their reigns spanning 
-re years 1570 to 1524 bc. His 

oud opening remarks set the 

/ will tell you, all ye people; I will 

ause you to know the honours which 

ame to me. I was presented wim 
gold [by the king for bravery] seven 
- nes in the presence of the whole 

- id; male and female slaves 
ikewise. I was er with many 

aids. The fame of one valiant in his 
achievements shall not perish in this 
and forever. 

Promoted to officer, Ahmose 

?rved in many of the campaigns to 

oel the Hyksos He Doasts that, 'I 

:ok captive there | Avaris ] one man 
and three women , total four heads , 
and His M r ave them to me for 

slaves'. He also fought in Nubia. In 
=11 he took part in ten campaigns 

nail wonder that he twice received 
:ne 'gold of valour'. This was the 

der of the 'Golden Fly' (tne ancient 
r gyptian equivalent of the British 

Victoria Cross) of which three 
examples were found on a gold chain 
~ the coffin of Queen Aahotep 
p. 102). Ahmose e\ / died an 

d and honoured warrior, loaded 
: own with land. 

into the Theban hillside and usually marked by steep-sided brick-built 

The tomb of another 1 7th Dynasty king, Sobekemsaf II, had apparent- 
ly remained intact until the reign of the 20th Dynasty king Ramesses IX, 
when a certain Amun-pnufer and a gang of seven accomplices robbed the 
burial of the king and his queen, Nubkha-es, in about 1 124 bc. A green- 
stone heart scarab set in gold inscribed on the base for a Sobekemsaf may 
refer to this king. Now in the British Museum, it was acquired in the 
19th century with the coffin of his successor, Nubkheperre Intef; they 
were possibly found together, in which case the scarab may have been in 
a re-used context. 

The expulsion of the Hyksos 

The simmering hostilities between the Thebans and their northern 
rivals erupted, as we have seen, during the reign of Seqenenre Tao, and 
his son Kamose was to continue the battle for complete sovereignty of 
Egypt. The official account of Kamose's campaign is related on two stele 
from Karnak. The first survives only in a much damaged condition, but 
fortunately the introductory text is known from another source, a writ- 
ing board now in the British Museum known as the Carnarvon Tablet. A 
preamble on the first stele outlines the current situation in Egypt: the 
country was nominally at peace, with Kamose holding the middle areas, 
the Hyksos controlling the north and the princes of Kush in command 
south of Elephantine. Unsurprisingly, the court could not see why 
Kamose should wish to upset the status quo, but the king was deter- 
mined to march. According to the stele, Kamose had some success by 
virtue of the element of surprise - the Hyksos had not apparently expect- 
ed to be attacked outright. However, the king's reign was short, no more 
than three regnal years being recorded, and he was buried at Thebes in an 
unpretentious, risAi-type coffin that was found in 1857 buried in rubble 
near where his tomb was recorded by inspectors under Ramesses IX. 

The account of the struggles against the Hyksos is continued in a 
small private tomb at el-Kab, just to the north of Aswan. Carved in 
vertical columns of hieroglyphs immediately inside the entrance is the 
autobiography of a local noble of the city of Nekheb (el-Kab), Ahmose 
son of Ebana,- it is the only contemporary account extant of the final 
defeat of the Hyksos. Ahmose served in the army under Kamose's 
successor, Ahmose I. The new king resumed the war with the Hyksos 
about half way through his 24-year reign, leading a series of attacks 
against Memphis, Avaris, and other Hyksos strongholds. Ahmose son of 
Ebana not only took part in the siege of Avaris, the second and third bat- 
tles of Avaris, and the city's eventual capture, but also pursued the 
beleaguered Hyksos into Palestine and laid siege to their town of 

At last, after a hard-fought campaign, the Hyksos were expelled from 
Egypt and the princely line of Thebes, in the person of Ahmose I, inaugu- 
rated the 18th Dynasty and the New Kingdom. 

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100 The New Kingdom 



Ahmose I 


fejPl 1570-1546 




"j Amenhotep I 






Tuthmosis I 


Tuthmosis II 





Birth name 

Birth name 

Ah-mose (The 

Tuthmosis (Greek) 

Moon is born') 

('Born of the god 

Also known as 


Ahmosis 1 (Greek) 

Also known as 

Throne name 

Thutmose 1, 

Neb-pehty-re (The 

Thutmosis 1 

Lord of Strength is 



Djehutymes 1 



?Dra Abu el-Naga 

Throne name 



('Great is the Soul 


of Re') 

Birth name 


Amen-hotep ('Amun 

Tombs KV 20 & KV 

is Pleased') 

38, Valley of the 

Also known as 

Kings (Thebes) 

Amenhotpe 1, 

Amenophis 1 



Birth name 

Throne name 

As Tuthmosis 1 

Djeser-ka-re ('Holy 

Throne name 

is the Soul of Re') 



('Great is the Form 

?Dra Abu el-Naga 

of Re') 

(Thebes) or ?Tomb 


KV 39, Valley of the 

?Tomb KV42, Valley 

Kings (Thebes) 

of the Kings 



Ahmose I 

With the expulsion of the Hyksos, the princes of Thebes now reign 
supreme. The war against the Hyksos had not been without 
Ahmose lost his father Seqenenre II and his brother Kahmose w 
about three years of each other, leaving him heir to the throne at a 
young age. His mother, the redoubtable Queen Aahotep, was a power 
force in the land and may have been co-regent with him in the ea 
years of his reign. 

After expelling the Hyksos, Ahmose was faced with the task of a 
solidating Egypt's borders, which he did with a series of rapid 
paigns that sealed the Syrian border and brought Nubia (Kush) to h< 
There must also have been much to do domestically and Ahmose see: 
to have devolved a great deal of the responsibility on to local govern* 
in the nomes. He encouraged support for his regime with gifts of lan« 
as recorded by Ahmose son of Ebana in his tomb at el-Kab (p. 971 - 
initiated temple building projects, the best evidence of which c 
from remains and inscriptions at Abydos. 

Manetho gives Ahmose I a reign of 25 to 26 years, which is substa 
ated by Josephus, who allocates 25 years and 4 months to the ki 







h\up:>^ l8 









Painted seated statue of 
;•->. aep I. Turin Museum. 

The Mystery of 
Tuthmosis Fs Burial 

_sis I appears to have been 
n two tombs in the Valley of 
« Kings: first in KV 20 and then in 
- » 38. KV 20 was cleared by Howard 
--' in 1903, and seemed to be a 
: e tomb intended not only for 
^mosis but also for his daughter 
spsut (who was to rule in her 
ght). It contained two yellow 
-artzite sarcopha inscribed 

r Tuthmosis I and the other for 
Bpsut as pharaoh, as well as 
- -opic chest.When KV 38 wa? 
jnd in 1899 by Victor Loret, it also 
: ~:ained a sarcophagus for the 
g. Two explanations have been put 
f-.'d. One theory is that 

Bpsut transferred her fatner's 
. Tom KV 38 to her own tomb, KV 
I. since KV 38 has tra y 

- thought to be the earliest royal 
: located in the Valley. However, 

e plan of KV 38 is more like tombs 
- the dynasty. An alternative 
s. therefore, that Tuthmosis III 
-,ad been usurped by his 
-:: mother H ed his 

- other's body from the tomb of 

- - ated stepmother and built a new 
for it, i.e. KV 38. Ineni, 
^osis i's architect, teiis how he 
= secret tomb cut in the Valley of 

e Kings for his master, 'no one 
ng, no one hearing\ but which of 

-:- :,vo tombs it was, KV 20 or 38, is 
--certain, trrc e of where he 

ested, Tuthmosis I's mummy 

-.5 f ound amongst the odies 

e 1881 find. 


\.;» of 7 ntm ■':-.:::■ -3 : fAri;..^;-- ; .^ •;>• 5 i/ial 
ustrates the ku 
sh Museum. 

After his death, Ahmose was buried in the Dra Abu el-Naga area of the 
Theban necropolis, in front of the Theban hills. Curiously, although his 
well-preserved mummy was found in the great royal cache of 1881, and 
Wallis Budge bought a unique limestone portrait ushabti of the king for 
the British Museum in the 1890s, the location of his tomb is unknown. 

Amenhotep I 

Amenhotep I, who reigned for a quarter of a century like his father 
Ahmose I, has left us few records. According to Ahmose son of Ebana, 
the king led a military expedition to Kush, where 'His Majesty captured 
that Nubian Troglodyte in the midst of his army/ A contemporary of 
Ahmose at el-Kab, Ahmose-Pen-Nekhbet, also mentions a Nubian cam- 
paign, and possibly a Libyan one. The king initiated building work at 
the temple of Karnak, too, as is attested in the autobiographical inscrip- 
tion of Ineni the architect, 'Chief of all Works at Karnak' (Theban tomb 

Amenhotep appears to have been the first king to take the radical 
decision to site his mortuary temple away from his burial place. The 
location of the latter, however, is uncertain, for although an uninscribed 
tomb at the Dra Abu el-Naga has been assigned to him, some suggest 
that a small, undecorated and anciently robbed tomb in the Valley of 
the Kings (KV 39) belonged to him. Wherever the tomb was, the com- 
mission of inspection in Year 16 of Ramesses IX reported it to be intact, 
according to the Abbott Papyrus. Like his father Ahmose, Amenhotep 
I's mummy was found in excellent condition in the 1881 royal mummy 

Tuthmosis I 

Amenhotep I was succeeded not by his son (a break with tradition that 
would usually indicate a change in dynasty), but by a military man, 
Tuthmosis, already in middle-age when he achieved supreme power. He 
may have partly legitimized his rule by acting as co-regent with 
Amenhotep in the last years of the old king's reign. His main claim to 
the throne, however, was through his wife, the princess Ahmose, who 
was the daughter of Ahmose I and Queen Ahmose Nefertary. Since 
ancient Egypt was a matrilineal society, he had thus married into the 
royal blood line. 

Although Tuthmosis had a short reign of only about six years, it was 
marked by a series of brilliant military campaigns that were to set the 
seal on most of the rest of the 18th Dynasty (the Amarna period apart, 
pp. 120ff). Presumably some start or preparations must have been made 
in the last years of Amenhotep I for Tuthmosis to have been able to 
inaugurate his military movements so rapidly and effectively. Ahmose 
son of Ebana was still on active service during this period, and he 
recounts how he was promoted to admiral, was highly successful in the 

102 The New Kingdom 

Two Ladies of the Court 

Ah mose had two strong-wi I fed and 
influential women in his immediate 
family. The first was his grandmother, 
Tetisheri, the founding matriarch of 
the dynasty. Greatly honoured by her 
descendants, she was provided not 
only with a lavish tomb but also with 
a pyramid and chapel at the sacred 
site of Abydos, complete with a full 
staff of mortuary priests. Tetisheri 
gave birth to Ahmose's father 
Seqenenre II and his mother, 
Aahotep, who was herself a 
formidable character. 

Aahotep was extolled in a most 
unusual way on the great stele of 
Ahmose at Kamak as 'one who cares 
for Egypt. She has looked alter her 
[Egypt's] soldiers; she has guarded 
her; she has brought back her 
fugitives and collect ther her 

desertars; she has pacified Upper 
Egypt, and expelted her rebels.' So, 
as well as probably being co-regent 
with her son, she was evidently also 
an active military leader. This is 
further demonstrated by a superb 
battleaxe (below) and three 'Golden 
Fly' awards for valour which were 
found in her intact coffin at Thebes in 

Nubian campaign and returned therefrom with 'that wretched Nub:., 
Troglodyte being hanged head downward at the prow of the barge of I 

Under Tuthmosis the grip of the priests of Amun at Karnak began 
take hold, as the king extensively remodelled and restored the gra 
temple to the chief of the gods under his architect Ineni. On his c 
Abydos stele, Tuthmosis records not only his vast building work the 
but also the fact that 'I made the boundaries of Egypt as far as 
which the sun encircles ... I made Egypt the superior of every land. 

Tuthmosis II 

The blade of King Ahmose 's ceremonial 
axe, found in his mother's coffin. Here he 
is shown killing an Asiatic. Cairo 

Tuthmosis I died in about 1518 bc, leaving behind a complicated sit 
tion vis a vis his successor to the throne. His two elder sons 
princes Wadjmose and Amenmose - predeceased their father, so 
young third son became heir. Also called Tuthmosis, the new king * 
son of a minor royal wife, the princess Mutnefert (sister of Tuthir 
I's queen, Ahmose). In order to strengthen the youngster's posit n 
therefore, he was married to his half-sister Hatshepsut, elder dau. 
of Tuthmosis I and Queen Ahmose. Together Tuthmosis II 
Hatshepsut reigned for about 14 years until he died in his early th:: 
Despite his apparent poor health, the king prosecuted successful ca; 
paigns in both Syria and Nubia, attested by a short inscription ir 
temple at Deir el-Bahari and a rock inscription at Aswan. Old retai 
such as Ineni the architect were still serving the court: 'I was a favoi 
of the king in his every place ... I attained the old age of the rever 
possessed the favour of His Majesty every day. I was supplied frorr 
table of the king with bread. 7 

Tuthmosis II had one son, likewise Tuthmosis, by Isis, a harem- 1 
He may also have had a daughter, Neferure, by Hatshepsut. The 
must have realized the overweening ambition of his wife and half- 
and endeavoured to curtail it by declaring his son his successor 
he died. In the event, Tuthmosis III was still a young child when he - 
ceeded to the throne and his stepmother and aunt Hatshepsut in:: 
acted as regent for the young king. As Ineni's autobiography sue. 
noted, 'His son [Tuthmosis III] stood in his [Tuthmosis II's] pL:_ 
King of the Two Lands, having become ruler upon the throne of the 
who begat him. His sister the Divine Consort, Hatshepsut, settk 
affairs of the Two Lands by reason of her plans. Egypt was ma 
labour with bowed head for her, the excellent seed of the god, v 
came forth from him.' Ineni, however, remained in the queen's fav 
'Her Majesty praised me, she loved me, she recognized my wi : 
court, she presented me with things, she magnified me . . . I inc: . 
beyond everything.' 

By regnal Year 2 of the young Tuthmosis III, Hatshepsut had ht 
paganda machine in place and working, and usurped her stepson - 

Tuthmosis II 103 

The Royal Mummy 

e burials of the New Kingdom 
~a r aohs were continually subject in 
: ent times to the dec is of 

: -obbers. In about 1000 bc, the 
rests, growing concerned over the 
--. capping and burying of the ravaged 
nies, decide ther them 

f'.ner and hide them in two caches, 
^ere they lay for almost 2000 years, 
rne first group was found in the 
■ " Ds near Deir el-Bahari at Thebes 
se brothers who plundered the 
in secret until Egyptologists were 
the tomb in 1881 (DB 320). The 
:ache consisted of an astonishing 40 
mummies be! to many famous 

: - 5'aohs. The second group of a 
'"^rther 16 mummies was discovered 

:~e tomb of Amenhotep II (KV 35) in 
v>e Valley of the Kings in 1898. Some 
a r e now displayed in a special room at 
the Cairo Museum. 

v jmmies found in the 1881 royal 
cache (DB 320) 

nose Hentempet (p) 

ose Henuttimehu (q) 
Vnmose Inhapi (qj 
--ose Meryetamun (q) 
-^ose Nefertary (q) 

ose Sipair (prince) 

Ahmose I, founder of W 

Ahmose Sitkamose (q) 
Amenhotep I (k) 
Ahmose i (k) 
Bakt (f) 

Djedptahaufankh (m) 
Isiemkheb (p) 
Maatkare Mutemhet (q) 
Masah-arta (m) 
Neskhons (q) 
Nestanebtishru (p) 
Nodjmet (q) 
Pinedjem 1 (k) 
Pinedjem II (k) 

Rai (f) 

Ra messes il (k) 

Ramesses III (k) 

Ramesses IX (k) 

Seqenenre Tao (k) 

Sett I (k) 

Siamun (k) 

Sitamun (p) 

Taweret (q) 

Tuthmosis I (k) 

Tuthmosis II (k) 

Tuthmosis III (k) 

8 anonymous mummies, not all 

necessarily royal (but the unknown 

woman B' may be Queen Tetisheri) 

Mummies found in the 1898 royal 
cache (KV 35) 

Amenhotep 11 (k) 

Amenhotep III (k) 

Memeptah (k) 

Ramesses IV (k) 

Ramesses V (k) 

Ramesses VI (k) 

Seti II (k) 

Siptah (k) 

Try (?) (q), the 'Elder Woman' 

Tuthmosis IV (k) 

6 anonymous human remains, not all 

necessarily royal 

KEY k-king m = male 

q = queen f = female 

p = princess 

.-mosis I 

msis II 

uuiu l u 

104 The New Kingdom 



^A/V\/\ ^x 

J^J^ Queen 
==^ Hatshepsut 

^ U J 1 Maatkare 



Tuthmosis III 



Several fine seated and standing statues 
of Hatshepsut were found in almost 
pristine condition in the quarry in front 
of her temple at Deir el-Bahari, where 
they had been tumbled under 
Tuthmosis III. Metropolitan Museum of 
Art, New York. 


Birth name 



Tuthmosis II 

('Foremost of Noble 




Throne name 


Maat-ka-re (Truth is 

Tomb KV 20, Valley 

the Soul of Re') 

of the Kings 



Tuthmosis 1 





Birth name 


Tuthmosis (Greek) 

Tuthmosis II 

('Born of the god 




Also known as 


Thutmose III, 


Thutmosis III 



Meryetre, Menhet, 

Djehutymes III 

Menwi, Merti 



Throne name 

Amenhotep II 



('Lasting is the 

Tomb KV 34, Valley 

Manifestation of 

of the Kings 



As Tuthmosis II had realized early on, Hatshepsut was a strong-wiL 
woman who would not let anyone or anything stand in her way. 
Year 2 of her co-regency with the child king Tuthmosis III she k 
begun her policy to subvert his position. Initially, she had been conte 
to be represented in reliefs standing behind Tuthmosis III and : 
identified simply by her titles as queen and 'great king's wife 7 of T-- 
mosis II. This changed as she gathered support from the highly plao 
officials, and it was not long before she began to build her splendid rr 
tuary temple in the bay of the cliffs at Deir el-Bahari (pp. 73, 106). 

Constructed under the supervision of the queen's steward Sener 
- who was to rise to the highest offices during her reign - Hatsheps 
temple took its basic inspiration from the 12th Dynasty temr 
Mentuhotep, adjacent to the site on the south. The final plan of t 
temple made it unique in Egyptian architecture: built largely of *: 
stone, it rose in three broad, colonnade-fronted terraces to a cc: 
rock-cut sanctuary on the upper terrace. The primary dedication w .. 
Amun but there were also smaller shrines to Hathor (who earlier 
small cave shrine on the site) and Anubis, respectively located on 

;.;' V ^STV ;M 









Hatshepsut 105 

nl from Hatshepsut 's fallen 
.'." the temple of Amun at 
c -hows her as male, kneeling and 
• j J by Amun 's gesture. 

south and north sides of the second terrace. A feature of the temple was 
its alignment to the east directly with the great temple of Amun across 
the Nile at Karnak. 

The queen legitimizes her rule 

Hatshepsut recorded that she had built her mortuary temple as a 'gar- 
den for my father Amun'. Certainly, it was a garden, with small trees 
and shrubs lining the entrance ramps to the temple. Her focus on Amun 
was strengthened in the temple by a propaganda relief, known as the 
'birth relief 7 , on the walls of the northern half of the middle terrace. 
Here Amun is shown visiting Hatshepsut 7 s mother, Queen Ahmose, 
while nearby are the appropriate deities of childbirth (the ram-headed 
Khnum and the frog-headed goddess Heqet) and the seven 'fairy-god- 
mother 7 Hathors. The thrust of all this was to emphasize that she, 
Hatshepsut, had been deliberately conceived and chosen by Amun to be 
king. She was accordingly portrayed with all the regalia of kingship, 
even down to the official royal false beard. 

To symbolize her new position as king of Egypt, Hatshepsut took the 
titles of the Female Horus Wosretkau, 'King of Upper and Lower Egypt'; 
Maat-ka-re, 'Truth is the Soul of Re 7 ; and Khnemetamun Hatshepsut, 
'She who embraces Amun, the foremost of women 7 . Her coronation as a 
child in the presence of the gods is represented in direct continuation of 
the birth relief at Deir el-Bahari, subsequently confirmed by Atum at 
Heliopolis. The propaganda also indicated that she had been crowned 
before the court in the presence of her father Tuthmosis I who, accord- 
ing to the inscription, deliberately chose New Year's Day as an auspi- 

'3\ of Seno^rh^ l ^ir-;;/,v; r.--<ow him 
:a r efully holding his royal the 

_ ess Nefe. seum. 

Senenmut the Royal 
S r D 

Despite his humble origins, Senenmut 
rose through the ranks of the court to 
become Queen Hatshepsut's closest 
advisor, and tutor to her daughter 
Neferure. It was rumoured that he 
owed his privile; ition to 

intimate relations with the queen. 
Whatever the truth of the matter, 
Senenmut was not oniy Chief A'ohitec 1 
and Overseer of Works, but was also 
Chief Steward of Amur,, Steward of the 
barque 'Amen-userhet", Overseer of 
the Granaries of Amun, of the Fields of 
Amun, of the Cattle of Amun, ot tne 
Gardens of Amun, and of the Weavers 
of Amun Me was unrivalled in tne 
administration of the country, and only 
the Chief Priest ot Amun, Hapuseneb 
(also vizier and architect of 

Hatshepsut s tc id match him in 

religious affairs. 

Senenmut built two tombs for 
himself, one, of the normal T-shaped 
plan of the New Kingdom, was amongst 
those of the other nobles in Sheik 'Abd 
el-Quma (no. 71), but his other one was 
much more presumptuous. The 
entrance to it was cut in a quarry to the 
north of the approach road to the Deir 
el-Bahari temple and just outside its 
temenos. This had a deep entrance 
stair heading north-north-west so that 
the chamber was located under the 
outer court of the temple. A sketch of 
Senenmut appears on the northern wail 
of the ay entrance, but he had 

also represented himself kneeling and 
worshipping in a relief concealed behind 
the opened doors of the small shrines 
in the upper sanctuary of Queen 
Hatshepsut's temple. 

106 The New Kingdom 

[Right] Hatshepsut's mortuary temple, 
nestling at the foot of the cliffs at Deir 
el-Bahari, is the masterpiece of the 
architect Senenmut. It is unique 
amongst Egyptian temples. Its 
remarkable situation is best appreciated 
from the air. Immediately behind it lies 
the Valley of the Kings and in front of it 
are the tombs of nobles of the New 
Kingdom and Late Period in the Assasif. 

[Above] The famous expedition to Punt 
is represented on a relief on the 
southern second colonnade of 
Hatshepsut's mortuary temple. Here, 
Eti, the steatopygous Queen of Punt, a 
very large lady is accompanied by her 
elderly and much smaller husband 
Perehu, and followed by a diminutive 
donkey, labelled in the hieroglyphs as 
'the donkey of the queen of Punt'. A 
later New Kingdom artist, seeing the 
relief, obviously much amused by the 
queen's figure, drew a rapid sketch of it 
on a limestone flake (ostrakon), now in 
Berlin. Cairo Museum. 

[Right] An Egyptian ship is loaded with 
the goods from Punt. 

cious day for the event! The whole text is fictitious and, just lilc 
miraculous conception, a political exercise. In pursuing this Hatsht 
makes great play upon the support of her long-dead but still h 
revered father, Tuthmosis I. 

Temples and trading 

The cult of Amun had gradually gained in importance durir. t 
Middle Kingdom under the patronage of the princes of Thebes. N< 
more powerful New Kingdom kings associated the deity with the:: 
fortunes. Hatshepsut had built her mortuary temple for Amun 
west bank, and further embellished the god's huge temple on tt i 
bank. Her great major-domo, Senenmut, was heavily involved in a' 
building works and was also responsible for the erection of a pair i 
granite obelisks to the god at Karnak. Their removal from the qu. 
at Aswan is recorded in inscriptions there, while their actual trar. - 
butt-ended on low rafts calculated to be over 300 ft (100 m) long an 
ft (30 m) wide, is represented in reliefs at the Deir el-Bahari temp 
second pair was cut later at Aswan and erected at Karnak un< 

Hatshepsut 107 

direction of Senenmut's colleague, Amunhotep; one of them still stands 
in the temple. 

The queen did not, however, build only to the greater glory of Amun 
at Thebes: there are many records of her restoring temples in areas of 
Middle Egypt that had been left devastated under the Hyksos. 

While Hatshepsut is not known for her military prowess, her reign is 
noted for its trading expeditions, particularly to the land of Punt (proba- 
bly northern Somalia or Djibouti) - a record of which is carved on the 
walls of her temple. It shows the envoys setting off down the Red Sea 
(with fish accurately depicted in the water) and later their arrival in 
Punt, where they exchange goods and acquire the fragrant incense trees. 
Other trading and explorative excursions were mounted to the 
turquoise mines of Sinai, especially to the area of Serabit el-Khadim, 
where Hatshepsut's name has been recorded. 

Hathor-headed pillar in the 
:hapel dedicated to the goddess on 
.:h side of Hatshepsut's mortuary 

: .opposite). 

.- Hatshepsut represented as a 
laned sphinx, one of the rare 
rotations in Egyptian art of a 
[ with a female face. Cairo 

The queen's tomb 

Hatshepsut had her tomb dug in the Valley of the Kings (KV 20) by her 
vizier and High Priest of Amun, Hapuseneb. She had previously had a 
tomb cut for herself as queen regnant under Tuthmosis II, its entrance 
220 ft (72 m) up a 350-ft (91-m) cliff face in a remote valley west of the 
Valley of the Kings. This was found by local people in 1916 and investi- 
gated by Howard Carter in rather dangerous circumstances. The tomb 
had never been used and still held the sandstone sarcophagus inscribed 
-for the queen. Carter wrote: 'as a king, it was clearly necessary for her to 
have her tomb in The Valley like all other kings - as a matter of fact I 
found it there myself in 1903 - and the present tomb was abandoned. 
She would have been better advised to hold to her original plan. In this 
secret spot her mummy would have had a reasonable chance of avoiding 
disturbance: in The Valley it had none. A king she would be, and a 
king's fate she shared/ 

Hatshepsut's second tomb was located at the foot of the cliffs in the 
eastern corner of the Valley of the Kings. The original intention seems 
to have been for a passage to be driven through the rock to locate the 
burial chamber under the sanctuary of the queen's temple on the other 
side of the cliffs. In the event, bad rock was struck and the tomb's plan 
takes a great U-turn back on itself to a burial chamber that contained 
two yellow quartzite sarcophagi, one inscribed for Tuthmosis I and the 
other for Hatshepsut as king (p. 101). The queen's mummy has never 
been identified, although it has been suggested that a female mummy 
rediscovered in 1991 in KV 21 (the tomb of Hatshepsut's nurse) might 
have been her body. 

Hatshepsut died in about 1483 bc. Some suggest that Tuthmosis III, 
kept so long in waiting, may have had a hand in her death. Certainly he 
hated her enough to destroy many of the queen's monuments and those 
of her closest adherents. Perhaps the greatest posthumous humiliation 
she was to suffer, however, was to be omitted from the carved king lists: 
her reign was too disgraceful an episode to be recorded. 

108 The New Kingdom 


(AboveJ Tuthmosis III records his 
successful military campaigns in the 
age-old icon of pharaoh smiting his 
enemies on the rear of Pylon 7 at 

[Below] A superb portrait statue of 
Tuthmosis III, identified as such by the 
cartouche on his belt. Luxor Museum. 

With Hatshepsut's death Tuthmosis III came into his rightful inh< 
tance. Senenmut, Hatshepsut's powerful minister and supporter 
died about a year before the queen and could no longer stand 
Tuthmosis 7 way. Hatshepsut had maintained her position with the - 
port of powerful ministers but, above all, by virtue of her impecc 
royal lineage. Tuthmosis, too, was to draw on his family credenti. 
because he had been married to the princess Neferure - daugh:. 
Tuthmosis II by Hatshepsut. Neferure died some time before Year 
so Tuthmosis III was a widower when he came to the throne,- he 
took Hatshepsut-Merytre as his principal queen who was to be 
mother of his heir, Amenhotep II. 

During Hatshepsut's reign Tuthmosis had been kept well in 
background. From the prowess he later demonstrated on the bat: 
it appears that he probably spent a lot of this time with the a 
Egyptian control in Syria and the Lebanon had slipped under Hats 
sut, and a number of the local princes had transferred their alle^ 
from Egypt to the closer and powerful kingdom of Mitanni. This 
change radically with the new king. 

Once Tuthmosis III had a clear field, he set about expungir.- 
memory of his stepmother Hatshepsut from the monuments. He . 
ed retribution at her temple at Deir el-Bahari, destroying many o 
reliefs and smashing numerous of her statues into a quarry just in : 
of the temple. The tombs of her courtiers were also attacked. Moreo* 
the obelisks which Senenmut had proudly brought from the j 
quarries at Aswan to Karnak were walled up and their inscription - 
den. This actually helped to preserve the lower inscriptions in pi 
condition, and they have now been revealed again. 

At Deir el-Bahari, tucked on to a ledge between the southern 
the queen's temple and Mentuhotep's Middle Kingdom t, 
Tuthmosis built a small temple of his own. Excavated in recent >\. 

Tuthmosis III 109 

: Tuthmosis III kneels in humble 
s to offer two small jars of water 
: wine to the gods. This genre of statue 
: ame very popular in stone and the 
t, hollow cast-bronze example occurs 
h Tuthmosis IV. Cairo Museum. 

£ft) An unusual outline drawing on 
. of the pillars in the burial hall of 

Tuthmosis III shows the king being 
. [<led by his mother Queen Iset as the 

^ nidess of the sycamore tree, normally 
.illusion to the goddess Hathor. 

the Polish mission, the incredibly fresh condition of the shattered 
reliefs seems to indicate that the temple was destroyed by a rock fall 
from the high cliffs above it very shortly after its completion. 

Nearby, Tuthmosis had a rock-cut sanctuary dedicated to the cow- 
goddess Hathor. The shrine was found by accident in the last century 
during clearance work by the Swiss Egyptologist Edouard Naville. A 
sudden rock fall exposed the opening to a painted shrine which, local 
graffiti indicated, had been a place of worship until Ramesside times, 
when it was destroyed by an earthquake. The shrine was dedicated by 
Tuthmosis III, accompanied in the wall paintings by his wife Merytre. 
Within the shrine was a large statue of Hathor as a cow walking forward 
with a standing figure of the king under her dewlap and a kneeling fig- 
ure of Tuthmosis' son and successor, Amenhotep II, painted in profile 
suckling at her udder. 

The Napoleon of ancient Egypt 

In Year 2 of his independent reign (nominally his Year 23), Tuthmosis 
III opened up his Near Eastern campaign. A reasonably trustworthy 
account of the battles was inscribed on the inside walls surrounding the 
granite sanctuary at Karnak. The author of these so-called Annals was 
the archivist, royal scribe and army commander, Thanuny,- he left an 
inscription in his tomb on the west bank at Thebes (TT 74) saying 'I 
recorded the victories he [the king] won in every land, putting them into 
writing according to the facts/ Thanuny must be one of the earliest offi- 
cial war correspondents. By recording details of the war in the great 
temple of Karnak, Tuthmosis III was not only glorifying his own name, 
but also promoting the god Amun - under whose banner he literally 
marched and whose estates were to reap such rich rewards from the 
spoils of war. 

The whole campaign was a masterpiece of planning and nerve. He 
marched to Gaza in ten days, took the city, and pressed on to Yehem, 
aiming for Megiddo which was held by the rebellious prince of Kadesh. 
Here a problem arose as the troops approached Megiddo. There were 
three possible routes into the town: two were straightforward and 
would bring the troops out to the north of the town,- the third was 
through a narrow pass, which the officers were quick to point out would 
be dangerous and open to ambush, since it was really only wide enough 
for single file. 'Will not', they asked, 'horse come behind horse and ma^i 
behind man likewise? Shall our advance guard be fighting while our 
rearguard is yet standing yonder in Aruna not having fought? 7 The king, 
however, took the view that the god Amun-Re was on his side and the 
officers were nominally given the choice of following him through the 
narrow pass or going the easy way round. Needless to say, they all sub- 
mitted to the king's plan. 

Tuthmosis marched at the head of the column with almost total dis- 
regard for his own personal safety, but the gamble paid off. Emerging 
from the mouth of the wadi he saw that his enemies had wrongly antic- 

110 The New Kingdom 

The tent-pole shaped columns in 
Tuthmosis Ill's festival hall at Karnak. 

Tn£ Capture of JorPA 

One of the most interesting events of 
the Syriar. campaign; rin H one which 
entered into foiKlore, was me capture 
of the city of joppa (r lodern laffa, 
near Tei Aviv) oyTuthmrsis ill 3 
ited on a 
papyrus in t n, the 

story goes thai when direct assault 
of the citv had failed, Dieniity 
resorted to a ruse that has cwertonej 
of the later Ali Baba and the Forty 
Thieves ne smuggled 200 armed 
men into the city in baskets, 
purporting to contain boot- captured 
by the Prince of Joppa. A all, ■ 

the soldiers emerged and opened the 
city gates. In the Louvre is a 
mag old Dowi msciued for 

Djehuty from his now lost tomb. 

Djehuty's gold bowl. Louvre. Paris. 

ipated that he would take one of the easier routes - and he had in : 
come out between the north and south wings of their army. The d 
day battle was joined and the enemy decisively routed; the latter fie 
panic back to Megiddo where those who were too slow to get in thr 
the gates were hauled up by their clothes over the walls. Unfortur. 
the scribe relates, the Egyptian troops stopped in their headlong p;: 
to gather loot. The enemy was thus able to escape and fortify its 
tion inside Megiddo, which held out against the Egyptians until the 
of a seven-month siege. 

In less than five months Tuthmosis III had travelled from Tk 
right up the Syrian coast, fought decisive battles, captured three cit 
and returned to his capital to celebrate his victories. A campaic: 
launched against Syria every summer for the next 18 years, the Eg'. 
navy being extensively used for troop movements up the coast. Ii 
culminated in Year 42 when Tuthmosis captured Kadesh, but the 
at Karnak detail over 350 cities that also fell to Egyptian might, v 
stele commemorated the victories and there was also a long (but : 
much damaged) inscription on Pylon 7 at Karnak. 

The 1 7 campaigns into western Asia were the military apotriL 
Tuthmosis 7 reign and it is not for nothing that he was calk 
Napoleon of ancient Egypt by the American Egyptologist James I 
Breasted. The king also mounted punitive expeditions into 
where he built temples at Amada and Semna and cleared Senusr. 
canal in Year 50 so that his army could easily pass on its return joi 
(the king was by now in his eighties). For the last dozen or so v 
his life he was able to rest content that the empire was now wi, 
spread, and in good order to be handed on to his heir, Amenhoter 

Many temples were enriched and embellished from the spoils 
campaigns, none more so than the temple of Karnak. Wall relit :■ 
the sanctuary represent some of the gold jewellery, costly fun- 
valuable oils and unguents and other gifts offered by Tuthmosis, as 
as the two obelisks that were erected (one of which now stands b 
Hippodrome at Istanbul). A great black granite Victory Stc 
Karnak records in 25 lines how the king smote all before him, ju>: 
is represented doing on the back of Pylon 7 at Karnak (p. 108). 

At the east end of the Karnak complex of temples, Tuthmosis b 
new temple that is unique in its design amongst Egyptian R 
Called his Festival Hall, its unusually shaped columns are said to 
sent the poles of the king's campaign tent. Behind the Hall is 
room with four clustered papyrus columns. This is known 
'Botanical Garden 7 because of the representations on its walls of t 
mals and plants that he brought back from Syria in Year 25. 

Queens and burials 

Tuthmosis 7 principal queen was Hatshepsut-Merytre but there 
other minor queens, several of whom had been acquired almc 
diplomatic exchanges. The court was further expanded for a whil< 

\t) Interior of the painted shrine 
icated by Tuthmosis III to Hathor at 
ir el-Bahari. The king offers to the 
: Amun. Cairo Museum. 

•. In July 1916 fellahin discovered 
-luch water-damaged tomb half-way 
:he cliff face some distance west of 
ir el-Bahari. It proved to be the tomb 

:ce young Syrian girls, probably 
licftains' daughters, who were part of 
harem of Tuthmosis III. Each had 
-. accorded the title of King's Wife 
: their names were Menhet, Menwi 
Merti. Amongst their funerary 
ision were three headdresses - two 
Mig, wig-like examples, almost 
mplete, and a third which had a pair 
- :nall three-dimensional gazelle heads 
tjched to the front band. These 
rmally designated minor members of 
ie royal harem, whilst senior queens 
ore the Mut vulture headdress (p. 148). 
. politan Museum, New York. 

number of foreign princes, who were held hostage while they received 
strict instruction in Egyptian ways; they would then be returned to 
their homelands, duly groomed as obedient vassals of Egypt. 

The reign of Tuthmosis III was noted for its opulence and this is 
reflected in the superb quality of the tombs of some of the high nobles 
that have survived. Principal amongst these is that of the vizier 
Rekhmire (TT 100), with its teeming scenes of daily life and crafts, and 
especially the two long inscriptions that provide valuable information 
on the installation and office of a vizier. The tomb of the High Priest of 
Amun-Re, Menkheperresoneb (TT 86), Rekhmire's religious Opposite 
number', was also nearby. 

When Tuthmosis III died in c. 1450 bc, his principal queen and moth- 
er of his heir, Hatshepsut-Merytre, survived him into the reign of her 
son as Queen Mother. Tuthmosis was interred in a tomb in the Valley 
of the Kings (KV 34) with its entrance halfway up the cliff face. Once 
the burial had been completed, masons hacked away the stone stairway 
that had led up to the now concealed entrance. Ancient robbers found 
their way in, nevertheless, and despoiled the tomb, its principal burial 
hall and the four side chambers. When it was rediscovered in February 
1898 by Victor Loret, all he found was the carved sarcophagus and the 
sorry remnants of smashed furniture and wooden statues. Rather curi- 
ously, amongst all this debris there was no trace of even a fragment of a 
ushabti of the king and, indeed, none have ever been recognized. The 
mummy was missing because it had been discovered 1 7 years before, in 
1881, in the great royal cache at Deir el-Bahari, where it appears to have 
been reburied after Year 11 of the 22nd Dynasty pharaoh Sheshonq I, 
c. 934 bc. It was identified as the body of Tuthmosis from the scraps of 
original wrappings still on it and it lay in its once gilded, but now 
stripped, original outer coffin. 

112 The New Kingdom 



-9 1*1 


im 1 







Djehutymes IV 

Birth name + 



Throne name 

Amen-hotep (heqa- 


iunu) ('Amun is 

('Everlasting are the 

Pleased, Ruler of 

Manifestations of 



Also known as 


Amenhotpe II, 

Tomb KV 43, Valley 

Amenophis II 

of the Kings 



Throne name 

A-kheperu-re ('Great 


are the Manifestat- 

Birth name + 

ions of Re') 



Amen-hotep (heqa- 

Tomb KV 35, Valley 

waset) ('Amun is 

of the Kings 

Pleased, Ruler of 



Throne name 


Nub-maat-re ('Lord 

Birth name 

of Truth is Re') 

Tuthmosis ('Born of 


the god Thoth') 

Tomb KV 22, Valley 

Also known as 

of the Kings 

Thuthmose IV, 


Thutmosis IV 


Amenhotep II 




Tuthmosis IV 


Amenhotep III 


Amenhotep II 

Amenhotep II seems to have been an athletic youngster. Several 
sentations of the king show him engaged in successful sporting 
suits, and he was keen to establish an equally good reputation 
military field. An opportunity to do just this presented itself early 
reign when, on receiving the news of the death of Tuthmosis V. 
Asiatic cities rose up in revolt. Amenhotep II was not slow in sh 
the rebels that he was not to be toyed with. 

In April of Year 2 he moved swiftly overland with the army (pn 
ably because the Mediterranean sea ports were also in revolt), adv 
into northern Palestine, fought his way across the Orontes r: 
Syria, and subdued all before him. One city, Niy, had learnt its I 
under Tuthmosis III and welcomed his son. The area of Tikhsi see: 
have been the focal point of the trouble and Amenhotep II ca;; 
seven princes there, returning with them in the autumn to the I 
of his great god Amun at Karnak. He was also accompanied by 
booty, which largely went to swell the coffers of Amun. 

Nubia took the king's attention next, in Year 3, when he 
south and completed the temples begun by his father at Asw 












Tuthmosis IV 113 

Elephantine Island and at Amada. From stele left by the king at both 
temples we learn the fate of the seven captive princes: the king sacri- 
ficed all seven to Amun in the age-old manner, smiting them with his 
mace and then hanging them face downwards on the prow of his ship. 
Six of them were subsequently hung on the enclosure wall of the tem- 
ple at Thebes, while the seventh was taken south into Nubia and hung 
from the walls of Napata, 'in order to cause to be seen the victorious 
might of His Majesty for ever and ever 7 . 

Year 9 saw the king campaigning in Palestine again, but only as far as 
the Sea of Galilee. Thereafter, for the rest of his 34-year rule, it seems he 
had made his mark and peace reigned. 

Amenhotep II was laid to rest in the Valley of the Kings (KV 35) - but 
not for long, for his tomb was plundered before the end of the 20th 
Dynasty. When Victor Loret entered it in March 1898 he found the 
usual debris, but the king still lay in his sarcophagus where the priests 
had partly rewrapped the body after its desecration. Impressions pre- 
served in the resin indicated the jewellery that had once lain on the 
body. Amenhotep was not, however, alone in his tomb. It had been used 
by the priests in antiquity as a hiding place for other royal mummies 
(see p. 103). 

• Schist statue of Amenhotep II. 
i:to Museum. 

ove) A granite stele from the temple 
V.nun at Karnak (now in the garden 
the Luxor Museum) shows 

- . jtep II shooting arrows from a 
:- moving chariot with deadly 
ceuracy at an ox-hide ingot of copper. 
•wess as a horseman is indicated 
■ the fact that his father, Tuthmosis 

put the best animals in the stable in 
- ^are. As an oarsman, too, he could 

. beaten, wielding an oar 20 cubits 
Sout 30 ft) in length and rowing six as fast as the mere mortal crew. 

ght) Until the discovery of Tutankh- 
aun's tomb in 1922, Amenhotep II had 

..: sanction of being the only 
vptian pharaoh discovered in his own 
.xophagus in his own tomb, and there 
c was left until he was moved to the 

ro Museum in 1928. Even after 1898 
menhotep was not safe: local robbers 
. into the tomb during the season 
900-1, but their ancestors had done 
riginal job too well and there was 
thing of great value left to steal, 
hough the modern robbers did search 
e body. Sadly, the great long bow of 
menhotep II found in his sarcophagus 
:th the mummy, of the type he shoots Karnak stele [above), was stolen 
has never been recovered. 

Tuthmosis IV 

There may have been some doubt about the legitimacy of Tuthmosis 
IV's succession, since a long inscription preserved on a tall stele 
between the paws of the Sphinx at Giza smacks of propaganda in sup- 











114 The New Kingdom 

[Right] Black granite statue of 
Tuthmosis IV with his mother Queen 
Tio, curiously set wide apart from each 
other but still underlining his royal 
right to the throne. Cairo Museum. 

[Below) An interesting record of 
Tuthmosis IV's reign occurs on the sides 
of the great obelisk that stands outside 
St John Lateran in Rome, re-erected by 
Pope Sixtus V in 1588. This, at 105 ft 
(32 m), is the tallest extant obelisk, 
despite having lost some 3 ft from its 
badly damaged base. Originally quarried 
at Aswan under Tuthmosis III, it was 
intended most unusually as a single 
obelisk for the temple at Karnak, and 
not one of a pair. It lay unfinished for 
some 35 years on the south side of 
Karnak until Tuthmosis IV piously had 
it inscribed with his grandfather's 
original inscription and added his own 
record to it. 

port of the new king. Known as the Dream Stele, it tells how the ) 
prince Tuthmosis was out hunting in the desert when he fell ask 
the shadow of the Sphinx. Re-Harakhte, the sun god embodied ii 
Sphinx, appeared to him in a dream and promised that if the 
engulfing the great limestone body was cleared away, the prince * 
become king. Needless to say, the sand-clearing operation was irm 
ately carried out and the prince became the fourth king of his na: 

Little of a military nature appears to have occurred during Tuthr 
IV's reign, although our knowledge may be marred by the lack ot * 
A Nubian campaign is recorded in Year 8, which was, of course, h 
successful. There also appear to have been some Syrian campj 
since the king is referred to twice as 'conqueror of Syria 7 - bur 
may have been rather low-key policing excursions rather than 
blown military attacks. 

It is from the reign of Tuthmosis IV that some of the best know: 
orated private tombs survive in the Theban necropolis, such as th 
Nakht (TT 52) and Menna (TT 69). Tuthmosis's own anciently r< 
tomb in the Valley of the Kings (KV 43) was found in 1903 by H 
Carter. A large amount of the damaged and destroyed funerary : 
ture, ushabtis, food provisions and a chariot were found in it 
destruction appears to have taken place before Year 8 of Horc: 
(1321-1293), when two graffiti record the restoration of the tomb b 
official Maya and his assistant Djehutymose. The king's mummy 
ever, was not present in the splendidly decorated granite sarcopha g 
had been found five years earlier, as one of those hidden in the h 
Amenhotep II (p. 103). 

Amenhotep III 115 

Amenhotep III 

se alabaster statue of Amenhotep 

...tig beside the crocodile god 
s This remarkable statue was later 
x-d by Ramesses II, who added his 
cartouches. It was found at 

-ha, at the bottom of a shaft in 
k s temple. Luxor Museum. 

Carriage Scarab of Amenhotep III, 
; his five large commemorative 
Tabs (p. 116), recording the names of 
I queen, Tiy, and her parents, Yuya 
J Tuya. British Museum. 

Amenhotep Ill's long reign of almost 40 years was one of the most pros- 
perous and stable in Egyptian history. His great-grandfather, Tuthmosis 
III, had laid the foundations of the Egyptian empire by his campaigns 
into Syria, Nubia and Libya. Hardly any military activity was called for 
under Amenhotep, and such little as there was, in Nubia, was directed 
by his son and viceroy of Kush, Merymose. 

Amenhotep III was the son of Tuthmosis IV by one of his chief wives, 
Queen Mutemwiya. It is possible (though now doubted by some) that 
she was the daughter of the Mitannian king, Artatama, sent to the 
Egyptian court as part of a diplomatic arrangement to cement the 
alliance between the strong militarist state of Mitanni in Syria and 
Egypt. The king's royal birth is depicted in a series of reliefs in a room 
on the east side of the temple of Luxor which Amenhotep built for 
Amun. The creator god, the ram-headed Khnum of Elephantine, is seen 
fashioning the young king and his ka (spirit double) on a potter's wheel, 
watched by the goddess Isis. The god Amun is then led to his meeting 
with the queen by ibis-headed Thoth, god of wisdom. Subsequently, 
Amun is shown standing in the presence of the goddesses Hathor and 
Mut and nursing the child created by Khnum. 

The royal wives 

Amenhotep III had a large - and ever-increasing - number of ladies in 
his harem,- several of them were foreign princesses, the result of diplo- 
matic marriages, but his chief wife was a woman of non-royal rank 
whom he had married before he came to the throne. This was Tiy, the 
daughter of a noble called Yuya and his wife, Tuya. The family was an 
important one: not only did it hold land in the Delta but Yuya was a 
powerful military leader. Tiy's brother, Anen, was also to rise to high 
office under Amenhotep III, as Chancellor of the King of Lower Egypt, 
Second Prophet of Amun, sem-priest of Heliopolis, and Divine Father. 
(The undecorated and almost undisturbed tomb [KV 46] of Yuya and 
Tuya was discovered in a small side wadi of the Valley of the Kings by 
Theodore Davis in 1905. Their two mummies are amongst the best pre- 
served in the Cairo Museum.) 

Tiy gave birth to six or more children, at least two sons and then four 
daughters. The oldest boy died without reigning, leaving his younger 
brother (the future Amenhotep IV, later called Akhenaten) heir to the 
throne. Amenhotep III also married two of his daughters, first Isis and 
then, in Year 30, Sitamun. Evidence for this comes from a series of kohl 
eyeliner tubes inscribed for the king together with a cartouche of each 
royal lady. 

The early years 

Amenhotep's reign falls essentially into two unequal parts. The first 
decade reflected a young and vigorous king, promoting the sportsman 

116 The New Kingdom 

The face of the gilded wooden coffin of 
Tuya, mother of Queen Tiy. Cairo 

The CommemgkAtpe 
Scarabs of Amenhotep III 

The fir i + 12 years of Amenhotep's 
reign are rather well documented on a 
series of five lurge ( o.nmemorative 
scaraos, eacn known in several 
copies. The earliest one, of Year 2, is 
known as the Ma :arab 

(illustrated on p. 115) and records the 
king's marriage to Tiy The second, 
also of Year 2, records Amenhotep's 
sporting prowess, it aescnbes now tne 
king captured d6 oui of a toial of 170 
near 1 of wild caTtie in a single day. On 
the tl ab (known as the Lion 

Hunt Scarab), he is credited with 
having slain 102 fierce lions in the 
first ten years of his reign. This is the 
most common of the scarabs, many 
have been founo outside *he bouna- 
anes of Egypt, where they obviously 
served as an imperial new ; sheet 

The fourth scarab documents tne 
arrival in Year 10 of the princess 

image laid down by his predecessors and with some minor mill 
activity. In Year 5 there was an expedition to Nubia, recorded on 
inscriptions near Aswan and at Konosso in Nubia. Although couchi 
the usual laudatory manner, the event recorded seems to ha " 
rather low key. An undated stele from Semna (now in the 
Museum) also records a Nubian campaign, but whether it is the 
one or a later one is uncertain. A rebellion at Ibhet is reported as 
been heavily crushed by the viceroy of Nubia, 'King's Son of Ki 
Merymose. Although the king, 'mighty bull, strong in might . 
fierce-eyed lion 7 is noted as having made great slaughter with 
space of a single hour, he was probably not present; neverthele^ 
Nubian men, 250 women, 175 children, 110 archers, and 55 serv. 
total of 740 - were said to have been captured, to which was adv. 
312 right hands of the slain. 

The opulent years 

The last 25 years of Amenhotep's reign seem to have been a p. 
great building works and luxury at court and in the arts. The laud 
epithets that accompany the king's name are more grandiose me:. 
than records of fact: he took the Horus name 'Great of Strength 
Smites the Asiatics 7 , when there is little evidence of such a cam 
similarly, 'Plunderer of Shinar 7 and 'Crusher of Naharin 7 seem s: 
ly inappropriate, particularly the latter since one of his • 
Gilukhepa, was a princess of Naharin. 

y.Uf,i:>i .:>:■ -;'■;? ..;... : .-.;-;/ ?:v,n:: ■?■•;: i;;^ .{hf-J //??*; X:a /-:- n~:-'v;v-v~ ; ; : ::yr •■■■„>-".■ '/Vy-%. 

Gilukheoa. daughter of King Shuttarna II 
of Mitanni, to join Amenhotep's harem 
Fhe princess was accompanied by an 
entourage of 017. interestingly, ever 
on a record such as this, Queen Tiy's 
name 3npeaT closely following the 
king's. The fifth scarab tells how 
Amenhotep had a pleasure lake dug in 
Year 11 for Queen Tiy to sail upon. 1 he 
lake w;j i huge just over a mile long 

ar.H Jkm, 1 - ,\ ;piptter of a mile 
and ororabh' lay in me area c" 
ki.ig's MalkrtM palnce to the : 
Medinet Habu, on the west ba^ 
Thebes. The king and queen 
".eiehratect the or°ningofthe 
sailing on it in the royal barge 
The Aten Glearrc . an jntere 
name in ,-elatioi tc his son 
Akhenaten s later ^ehgious be 






The 60-ft (20-m) high seated 
ues of Amenhotep III known as the 
ossi of Memnon. In antiquity the 
thern one of the pair (on the right) 
d to make a moaning sound at 
;.:id dusk, said to be Memnon 
rung or bidding farewell to his 
■.L-r. Eos, the dawn goddess. The 
nomenon was probably caused by 
effect on the stone of the radical 

iture changes at dawn and dusk; 
itever the explanation, repairs later 
led out by the Roman emperor 

us Severus (ad 193-211) meant 
i the sound was heard no more. The 
er legs and pedestal of the northern 
*ssus are heavily covered in graffiti 
n antiquity to 19th-century ad 
ellers, including even a poem in 
ek by the official court poetess to 
timius Severus. 

v.-) Head of a fine quartzite statue 
r Amenhotep III found in the Luxor 
mple cache in 1989. It was probably a 
it statue (p. 118). Luxor Museum. 

The wealth of Egypt at this period came not from the spoils of con- 
quest, as it had under Tuthmosis III, but from international trade and an 
abundant supply of gold (from mines in the Wadi Hammamat and from 
panning gold dust far south into the land of Rush). It was this great 
wealth and booming economy that led to such an outpouring of artistic 
talent in all aspects of the arts. 

Since the houses or palaces of the living were regarded as ephemeral, 
we unfortunately have little evidence of the magnificence of a palace 
such as Amenhotep's Malkata palace. Fragments of the building, how- 
ever, indicate that the walls were once plastered and painted with lively 
scenes from nature. Many of the temples he built have been destroyed 
too. At Karnak he embellished the already large temple to Amun and at 
Luxor he built a new one to the same god, of which the still standing 
colonnaded court is a masterpiece of elegance and design. Particular 
credit is owed to his master architect: Amenhotep son of Hapu. 

On the west bank, his mortuary temple was destroyed in the next 
(19th) dynasty when it, like many of its predecessors, was used as a 
quarry. All that now remains of this temple are the two imposing stat- 
ues of the king known as the Colossi of Memnon. (This is in fact a com- 
plete misnomer, arising from the classical recognition of the statues as 
the Ethiopian prince, Memnon, who fought at Troy.) Of the two, the 
southern statue is the best preserved. Standing beside the king's legs, 
dwarfed by his stature, are the two important women in his life: his 
mother Mutemwiya and his wife, Queen Tiy. A quarter of a mile behind 
the Colossi stands a great repaired stele that was once in the sanctuary 
and around are fragments of sculptures, the best of which, lying in a pit 
and found in recent years, is a crocodile-tailed sphinx. 

118 The New Kingdom 

[Right) An aerial view of the Luxor 
temple, built and added to over the 
course of 2000 years from Amenhotep 
III (the colonnaded court, back left), 
Ramesses II (the pylons) down to the 
Islamic mosque of Abu Hagag 

Amenhotep Ill's master architect, 
Amenhotep son of Hapu, is one of the 
few architects to be known to us by 
name. As a great privilege, he was 
allowed to place statues of himself - 
shown sitting cross-legged as a scribe 
with his scribal palette hanging forward 
over his left shoulder - outside Pylon X 
in the temple of Karnak. Like the great 
3rd Dynasty architect, Imhotep, 
Amenhotep son of Hapu was elevated to 
the status of a god in the later Ptolemaic 
period. Cairo Museum. 

A peak of artistic achievement 

Some magnificent statuary dates from the reign of Amenhotep II! 
as the two outstanding couchant rose granite lions originally set b 
the temple at Soleb in Nubia (but subsequently removed to the tc 
at Gebel Barkal further south in the Sudan). There is also a prolifei 
of private statues, particularly of the architect Amenhotep son of 
but also of many other nobles and dignitaries. 

It is in the great series of royal portraits, however, that the scul; 
art is truly seen. Largest of them all (after the Colossi of Memnon' : 
huge limestone statue of the king and queen with three small sta: 
princesses from Medinet Habu. There are many other represent at: 
the king, all of which project the contemplative, almost ethereal 
of the king's features. Magnificently worked black granite seated 
ues of Amenhotep wearing the nemes headdress have come from < 
vations behind the Colossi of Memnon (by Belzoni) and from T 
the Delta. A number of statues of the king were reworked 
rulers, often by simply adding their cartouches, or occasionally ; 
the features or aspects of the body, as with the huge red granite 
hitherto identified as being Tuthmosis III from Karnak (also f 
Belzoni) and reworked by Ramesses II (now in the British Mus« 
Several portraits in statues, reliefs and wall paintings show the 
wearing the helmet-like khepresh, the so-called Blue or War Crov. : 

One of the most incredible finds of statuary in recent years was i 
in the courtyard of the Amenhotep III colonnade of the Luxor temj 
1989. It included a superb 6-ft (1.83-m) high pink quartzite statue 
king standing on a sledge and wearing the Double Crown. Th 
damage the statue had sustained was under Akhenaten when, ven 
fully, the hated name of Amun was removed from the cartouche- 
it appeared as part of the king's name. The inscriptions on the - 
and its iconography suggest that it is a work from late in the 
despite the idealized youthful features of the king. It may possiblv 
been a cult statue (p. 117). 

xm ft. I 
ml -I 

Amenhotep III 119 

i m MA 

The two most widely known portraits of Queen Tiy are the small 
ebony head in Berlin which, in the past, caused many authorities to sug- 
gest that she came from south of Aswan, and the petite-faced and 
crowned head found by Petrie at the temple of Serabit el-Khadim in 
Sinai which is identified as the queen by her cartouche on the front of 
her crown. Other fine reliefs of her come from the tombs of some of the 
courtiers in her service such as Userhet (TT 47) and Kheruef (TT 192). 

^■•"'" ,mi m 

"„ "'Urn .-?::■» 


:#*'; ,re*' 

. >culpted limestone relief of 
lotep III wearing the Blue Crown 
presh) from the tomb of the Royal 
e Khaemhet at Thebes (TT 57). The 
ipanion portrait of Queen Tiy is in 
-vsels. Berlin Museum. 

nail greenstone head identified as 

. j n Tiy by her cartouches and 
stinctive double uraei headdress. 
oind in the temple of Serabit el- 
hadim, Sinai, in 1904 by Flinders 
:trie. Cairo Museum. 

Death and burial 

Inscribed clay dockets from the Malkata palace carry dates into at least 
Year 38 of Amenhotep's reign, implying that he may have died in his 
39th regnal year when he would have been about 45 years old. 

His robbed tomb was rediscovered by the French expedition in 1 799 
in the western Valley of the Kings (KV 22). Amongst the debris, they 
found a large number of ushabtis of the king, some complete but most- 
ly broken, made of black and red granite, alabaster and cedar wood. 
Some were considerably larger than normal. Excavations and clearance 
by Howard Carter in 1915 revealed foundation deposits of Tuthmosis 
IV, showing that the tomb had been originally intended for that king. 
Despite this, the tomb was eventually used for Amenhotep III, and also 
for Queen Tiy to judge from the fragments found of several different 
ushabtis of the queen. 

Queen Tiy survived her husband by several years - possibly by as 
many as 12, since she is shown with her youngest daughter, Beket- 
Aten, in a relief in one of the Amarna tombs that is dated between Years 
9 and 12 of her son's reign. (Beket-Aten is shown as a very young child 
and must have been born shortly before Amenhotep died, or even 
posthumously.) We know from polite enquiries about Tiy's health in 
the Amarna Letters (p. 126) that she lived for a while at Akhetaten 
(modern el-Amarna), the new capital of her son Akhenaten. It has been 
suggested that there was a period of co-regency between the old king 
and his successor, but the argument is not proved either way. An inter- 
esting painted sandstone stele found in a private household shrine at el- 
Amarna shows an elderly, rather obese Amenhotep III, seated with 
Queen Tiy. Whether he actually lived for a time in this city is a matter 
of conjecture; Tiy certainly did and may well have died there, to be 
taken back to Thebes for burial. 

Amenhotep Ill's mummy was probably one of those found by Loret in 
1898 in the tomb of Amenhotep II (KV 35), although recently it has been 
suggested that this body was wrongly identified by the ancient priests 
when it was transferred to the new tomb. On biological grounds, profes- 
sors Ed Wente and John Harris have proposed it to be the body of 
Akhenaten, or possibly Ay. A previously unidentified female mummy 
(the Elder Woman) from the same cache has been tentatively identified 
as Queen Tiy, based on the examination of her hair and a lock of hair in 
a small coffin from the tomb of Tutankhamun inscriptionally identified 
as Tiy's. 

120 The New Kingdom 





>© ii 





(Amenhotep IV) 



Yellow steatite seated statue of 
Akhenaten, originally paired with 
Nefertiti (of whom only her left arm 
remains, clasping his waist). The king is 
represented in the restrained style of 
late in his reign. Louvre, Paris. 


Birth name 


Amen-hotep ('Amun 


is Pleased') 


Also known as 

Nefertiti, Merytaten, 

Amenhotpe IV, 

Kiya, Mekytaten, 

Amenophis IV 




Adopted name 


(Year 5) 




('Servant of the 




Throne name 



and others 

('Beautiful are the 


Manifestations of 

Akhetaten (el- 


Amarna); subse- 


quently ?Valley of 

Amenhotep III 

the Kings (Thebes) 



Birth name + (epithet) 

('Living are the 


Manifestations of 



('Vigorous is the 


Soul of Re, Holy of 




Also known as 

?Tomb KV 55, 


Valley of the Kings 

Throne name 



Amenhotep IV - better known as Akhenaten, the new name b 
early on in his reign - ushered in a revolutionary period in Egypt i a 
tory. The Amarna Interlude, as it is often called, saw the removal < 
seat of government to a short-lived new capital city, Akhetaten 
el- Amarna), the introduction of a new art style, and the elevation 
cult of the sun disc, the Aten, to pre-eminent status in Egyptian 
gion. This last heresy in particular was to bring down on Akhenate 
his immediate successors the opprobrium of later kings. 

The young prince was at least the second son of Amenhotep ID 1 
chief wife, Tiy: an elder brother, prince Tuthmosis, had died prem. 
ly (strangely, a whip bearing his name was found in Tutankha: 
tomb). There is some controversy over whether or not the old kin. 
his son into partnership on the throne in a co-regency - there 
strong arguments both for and against. A point in favour of a co-K 
is the appearance during the latter years of Amenhotep Ill's rt 
artistic styles that are subsequently seen as part of the 'revolt:- 
Amarna art introduced by Akhenaten,- on the other hand, both 
tional' and 'revolutionary' art styles could easily have coexists 



v,M^ v |S 








Akhenaten 121 

Male or Female? 

3n the tomb o + " Akhenaten was 
-ediscovered at Amarna in the early 
BOs, portraits of the royal couple 
.vere at first thought to represent two 
•'emales, by virtue o 1 'en's 

:. r iousan« ^s shape. One 

anatior fot the King's u>">i Sua! 
;jre was that he su om a 

tumour of the pr land, 

sl 'ting in what is known as 
: i ich's fVndrome. Certain well- 
: - vn efie ;is oi tins disorder seem 
)e ver, evne^i " r ec nns 

antem-like jaw; the head looking 
er-heavy on an elongated neck; 
:essive fat in area? tn?i 31 ° more 
"dicative of the female form, e.g. 
around the thighs, buttocks and 

easts, aro spindly >^gs a side- 
effect of this condition, however, is 
"fertility, and critics hav< 11 out 

that Akhenaten would have been 
able to tatner ti e six aaugrters 
'. th whom he is so frequently shown; 
on the other hand, he could have 
een struck by th s at a later 

-;age in his iife. 

Painted limestone pair statuette of 
Akhenaten and Nefertiti which is dated 

the form of the Aten's name on the 
back to after Year 9. There is a rather 
charming naivety about the sculpture, 
- at it still follows the laid-down canons 
that the queen should be shown on a 
-mailer scale. Louvre, Paris. 

the early years of Akhenaten 7 s reign. At any rate, if there had been a co- 
regency, it would not have been for longer than the short period before 
the new king assumed his preferred name of Akhenaten ('Servant of the 
At en 7 ) in Year 5. 

The beginning of Akhenaten's reign marked no great discontinuity 
with that of his predecessors. Not only was he crowned at Karnak (tem- 
ple of the god Amun) but, like his father, he married a lady of non-royal 
blood, Nefertiti, the daughter of the vizier Ay. Ay seems to have been a 
brother of Queen Tiy (Anen was another, p. 115) and a son of Yuya and 
Tuya. Nefertiti's mother is not known,- she may have died in childbirth 
or shortly afterwards, since Nefertiti seems to have been brought up by 
another wife of Ay named Tey, who would then be her stepmother. 

The cult of the Aten 

There can be little doubt that the new king was far more of a thinker 
and philosopher than his forebears. Amenhotep III had recognized the 
growing power of the priesthood of Amun and had sought to curb it; his 
son was to take the matter a lot further by introducing a new monothe- 
istic cult of sun-worship that was incarnate in the sun's disc, the Aten. 

122 The New Kingdom 

[Right] This detail from two adjacent 
blocks found at Hermopolis shows a 
very different aspect of Nefertiti, within 
a small cabin at the stern of the ship, 
smiting a captive with upraised mace. 
Boston Museum. 

[Below] One of the several colossal 
sandstone statues of Akhenaten found 
in a peristyle court east of the temple of 
Amun at Karnak. The king's curious 
physiognomy has been the source of 
much speculation. Cairo Museum. 

This was not in itself a new idea: as a relatively minor aspect of v: 
god Re-Harakhte, the Aten had been venerated in the Old Kingdo:: 
a large scarab of Akhenaten's grandfather Tuthmosis IV (now 1 
British Museum) has a text that mentions the Aten. R.. 
Akhenaten's innovation was to worship the Aten in its own i 
Portrayed as a solar disc whose protective rays terminated in : 
holding the ankh hieroglyph for life, the Aten was accessible o 
Akhenaten, thereby obviating the need for an intermediate priesth 

At first, the king built a temple to his god Aten immediately > 
the east gate of the temple of Amun at Karnak, but clearly the l 
tence of the two cults could not last. He therefore proscribed the l .. 
Amun, closed the god's temples, took over the revenues and, to o 
complete break, in Year 6 moved to a new capital in Middle Egyr ' 
way between Memphis and Thebes. It was a virgin site, not previc 
dedicated to any other god or goddess, and he named it Akhetaten 
Horizon of the Aten. Today the site is known as el-Amarna. 

Akhenaten 123 



op) The painted but unfinished 
nestone bust of Nefertiti from the 
irkshop of the sculptor Thutmose at 
narna has become an icon of Amarna 
t. Berlin Museum. 

3 we) A limestone slab, with traces of 
e draughtsman's grid still on it, found 
the Royal Tomb of Amarna. Its style 
characteristic of the early period of 
thenaten's reign. The king is 
companied by Nefertiti and just two 
their daughters, but this does not 
cessarily indicate that these are the 

st, since others of the six may have 
en omitted. Cairo Museum. 

In the tomb of Ay, the chief minister of Akhenaten (and later to 
become king after Tutankhamun's death, p. 136), occurs the longest and 
best rendition of a composition known as the 'Hymn to the Aten', said 
to have been written by Akhenaten himself. Quite moving in itself as a 
piece of poetry, its similarity to, and possible source of the concept in, 
Psalm 104 has long been noted. It sums up the whole ethos of the Aten 
cult and especially the concept that only Akhenaten had access to the 
god: 'Thou arisest fair in the horizon of Heaven, O Living Aten, 
Beginner of Life . . . there is none who knows thee save thy son 
Akhenaten. Thou hast made him wise in thy plans and thy power. 7 No 
longer did the dead call upon Osiris to guide them through the after- 
world, for only through their adherence to the king and his intercession 
on their behalf could they hope to live beyond the grave. 

According to present evidence, however, it appears that it was only 
the upper echelons of society which embraced the new religion with 
any fervour (and perhaps that was only skin deep). Excavations at 
Amarna have indicated that even here the old way of religion continued 
among the ordinary people. On a wider scale, throughout Egypt, the 
new cult does not seem to have had much effect at a common level 
except, of course, in dismantling the priesthood and closing the tem- 
ples; but then the ordinary populace had had little to do with the reli- 
gious establishment anyway, except on the high days and holidays 
when the god's statue would be carried in procession from the sanctu- 
ary outside the great temple walls. 

The standard bureaucracy continued its endeavours to run the coun- 
try while the king courted his god. Cracks in the Egyptian empire may 
have begun to appear in the later years of the reign of Amenhotep III; at 
any rate they became more evident as Akhenaten increasingly left gov- 
ernment and diplomats to their own devices. Civil and military author- 
ity came under two strong characters: Ay, who held the title 'Father of 
the God' (and was probably Akhenaten's father-in-law), and the general 
Horemheb (also Ay's son-in-law since he married Ay's daughter 
Mutnodjme, sister of Nefertiti). Both men were to become pharaoh 
before the 18th Dynasty ended. This redoubtable pair of closely related 
high officials no doubt kept everything under control in a discreet man- 
ner while Akhenaten pursued his own philosophical and religious inter- 

A new artistic style 

It is evident from the art of the Amarna period that the court officially 
emulated the king's unusual physical characteristics. Thus individuals 
such as the young princesses are endowed with elongated skulls and 
excessive adiposity, while Bek - the Chief Sculptor and Master of 
Works - portrays himself in the likeness of his king with pendulous 
breasts and protruding stomach. On a stele now in Berlin Bek states that 
he was taught by His Majesty and that the court sculptors were 
instructed to represent what they saw. The result is a realism that 

124 The New Kingdom 

[Right) This sandstone building slab 
(talatat) shows Akhenaten wearing the 
Red Crown and offering to the Aten's 
disk, whose descending rays extend the 
ankh sign of life to him. Private 

[Below] Amongst the distinctly 18th 
Dynasty jewellery found cached outside 
the Royal Tomb at Amarna the small 
gold ring with Nefertiti's cartouche is 
particularly significant. Royal Scottish 
Museum, Edinburgh. 

[Below] An unfinished quartzite head of 
Nefertiti, showing the draughtsman's 
guide lines, found in the workshops at 
Amarna. Cairo Museum. 

breaks away from the rigid formality of earlier official depi 
although naturalism is very evident in earlier, unofficial art. 

The power behind the throne? 

Although the famous bust of Nefertiti in Berlin (p. 123) shows 
an elongated neck, the queen is not subject to quite the same e 
as others in Amarna art, by virtue of being elegantly female 
there are several curious aspects of Nefertiti's representation - 
early years of Akhenaten's reign, for instance, Nefertiti was an 
ly prominent figure in official art, dominating the scenes car 
blocks of the temple to the Aten at Karnak. One such block shi^ 
in the age-old warlike posture of pharaoh grasping captives by I 
and smiting them with a mace (p. 122) - hardly the epitom. 
peaceful queen and mother of six daughters. Nefertiti evidently p] 
far more prominent part in her husband's rule than was the norm 

Tragedy seems to have struck the royal family in about Year \ 
the death in childbirth of Nefertiti's second daughter, Mekytate 
probably she who is shown in a relief in the royal tomb with he 
stricken parents beside her supine body, and a nurse standin: 
holding a baby. The father of the infant was possibly Akhenaten 
he is also known to have married two other daughters, Merytat< 
to be confused with Mekytaten) and Akhesenpaaten (later : 
Tutankhamun's wife). 

Nefertiti appears to have died soon after Year 12, although - 
gest that she was disgraced because her name was replaced in I 
instances by that of her daughter Merytaten, who succee . 
'Great Royal Wife 7 . The latter bore a daughter called Merytaten-: 
(Merytaten the Younger), also possibly fathered by Al 
Merytaten was to become the wife of Smenkhkare, Akhena: - 
successor. Nefertiti was buried in the royal tomb at Amarna, jud 
the evidence of a fragment of an alabaster ushabti figure bear::' - 
touche found there in the early 1930s. 

Akhenaten 125 

The Sacred City of 

*.?:en (or el-Am arna as it is now 
• s an important site because it 
: :cupied neither before nor after 
s short life as capital under 
■ •^enaten. It is ringed by a natural 
;neatre of cliffs on both sides of 
3 and delineated by a series uf 
|e stele carved in the rock 
;i its perimeter. On the stele, 

- show Akhenaten adoring his 

- the company of his wife and 
anous of their six daughters, and give 

. ctions that all should be buried 
thin the city's sacrea precincts. To 

^d a royal tomb was cut in a 
•mote wadi si ^tween 

-r tombs of the nobles, now referrea 
o as the North and South tombs, 

-e of the tombs was ever finished 
*xJ probably few of them were 
:*.jally occupied. If they were, loving 
e stives almost certainly rapidly 
jved the bodies imr>" t after 

ig's death because of f he 
ash unle n and 

- s monuments. 

" n e actual city was a linear 
:e.elopment along part of the east 
stretching back not very far into 
e desert where a number of small 

Vfcw cf m: ■"'■/?.>/•■■ • •U?,.^;; -^ n. \, jn,,. H am baan augg&aimJ gih- ..,;..:•; I/. ;:•;• axam a; a -a turn a, 
the palat 3 zoo. 

- ofAkhett lear 

dioprmm -m g r<'^ mag : ;: m-. : .^ 

sun kiosks were located on the routes 
to the tombs. A broad tho re, 

sometimes called the King's Road or 
Royal Avenue, linked the two ends of 
the city and was flanked by a series of 
official buildings, including the royal 
palace (Great Palace), the new style 
open air temple tc the Aten :the Great 
Temple) and administrative offices 
Tne Great Palate vas p obabiy a 
ceremonial centre rather than a royal 
residence; ne king ana his family may 
have lived in the North D clace ( ?bove). 
The houses of the uppe- :iass9s 
(mainly >u>ung nooieb wl.o had 
acnomnanied the king in his "aaica! 
muve) were arranged on an open plan, 
not crowded together as is usually 
found in the ancient Neai Last. Most 
were lavish buildings, with pools and 
gardens. The overall impression was 
that of e 'garner city 

The whole essence of the court and 
life at Amarna revolved around the king 
and his god the Aten. Everywhere the 
royal family i pp^ared 1h(-y wen; shown 

to be under tne protection of tne 
Aten s ravs. Reliefs in the tombs of 
the nonle* at tne site ait focused on 
the king and through him the Mien. 
Great scenes covered the walls and 
continued, unlike eailiei and later 
tomb decoration, from wall tc wail The 
king, usually accomc r 'ertiti 

and a number ot L heir daughters 
dominated the walls, normally in 
scenes showing them proceeding to 
the temple of tne Ater. in chariots 
drawn by spirited and richly 
caparisoned horses Smah vignene- 
occur of men di ater using 

s^aoufs (tne ancient bucket b^ a 
weighted Dole method that until 
recently was a crrrnn~n sign, -n ugypi, 
but is now fast disau ); fat 

cattle are fed in their byres; blind 
musicians, their iaces beautifully 
observe^ sing the praises of 
Akhenaten and the Aten. Everything is 
alive and thriving unde- [he King s 
patronage through the beneficence cf 
the Aten. 

126 The New Kingdom 

The Amarna Letters 

Very unusually in The study of 

ptian history, we have evidence 
which provides a close insight into 
the a ic policy of <K ^n's 

reign ;; ether than having tc rely on 
the more official bombast ol temple 
reliefs). In the 'House of the 
Cc^esr'ndenee c 4 " Hha.aoh' at 
Amarna, he. the Recorc O^fic? a 
local woman ch| r seaahh 

(broke, i dowi mudbrick used as 
fertilizer) in 18- ve of 

clay tablets inscribed in the wedge- 
shaped cuneiform scnp H (peiow, 
British Museum) At first thought ic 
he fakes :h^y turned ou- to be the 
dipiumatic correspondence receiver 
in the Amarna Foreii = from 

kings, chieltams and outpost )f the 
rapidly failing Egyptian empire in the 
area of oy, a The^ were writter in 
Akkadian the Impu? frarca of the 
ancient Near East. Many, sent by 
minor c s under attack from 

Egypt s enemies, promise wontinuing 
loyalty to th« Egyptian crown |ust so 
long as gold and supplies could be 
sent. Sometimes letters from protag- 
onists ana antagonists shrilly accuse 
each uther. Mos1 v>1 the appeaK 
apparentiv went unnee 3ed bv the 
king, who was far too concerned with 
expounding his new religion io take 
notice oi such .equesto. One letter 
asks after the health of the Queen 
Mother, Queen Ny, presumably then 
widowed and r en 

(other evidence also seems to 
support this, p. 119). If she was, it is 
interesting to note that Akhenaten 
was prepaid *o overlook his hatred 
of the oin rPiig^n ir. allowing her tc 
be buried in hei husband's tomb in 
the western Valley of the Kings. 

The king's resting place 

Akhenaten died c. 1334, probably in his 16th regnal year. Ev: 
found by Professor Geoffrey Martin during re-excavation of the - 
tomb at Amarna showed that blocking had been put in place in the 
ial chamber, suggesting that Akhenaten was buried there in:: 
Others do not believe that the tomb was used, however, in view 
heavily smashed fragments of his sarcophagus and canopic jars re 
ered from it, and also the shattered examples of his ushabtis - founc 
only in the area of the tomb but also by Petrie in the city. 

What is almost certain is that his body did not remain at Amam 
burnt mummy seen outside the royal tomb in the 1880s, and associa 
with jewellery from the tomb (including a small gold finger rin^ 
Nefertiti's cartouche, p. 124), was probably Coptic, as was other 
ellery nearby. Akhenaten's adherents would not have left his bod\ ■ 
despoiled by his enemies once his death and the return to orth 
unleashed a backlash of destruction. They would have taken 
place of safety - and where better to hide it than in the old royal 
ground at Thebes where enemies would never dream of seeking it ! 


Akhenaten's nominal successor was Smenkhkare, probably a y 
brother of the king, but it appears that they may have died v. 
months of each other. Smenkhkare's two-year reign was in reali: 
regency during the last years of Akhenaten's life. A graffito in th . 
of Pairi at Thebes (TT 139) records a third regnal year, and tru 
indications that Smenkhkare was preparing the ground for a re: 
the old orthodoxy and had left Akhetaten. He was marrK 
Merytaten, the senior heiress of the royal blood line, but she se 
have predeceased him. Her sister Ankhesenpaaten thus becarru 
senior survivor of the six daughters - having herself borne 
daughter by Akhenaten, named after her - and was married to the • 
Tutankhaten, the heir apparent (who was later to change his r... 

The mystery of Tomb 55 in the Valley of the Kings 

A great deal of controversy surrounds the question of Smenkhl 
mummy and burial. In January 1907, Edward Ayrton (workin 
Theodore Davis) discovered the badly water-damaged contents 
unfinished tomb in the Valley of the Kings (KV 55). Arguments 
raged ever since over the identity of the occupant of the rishi-typi 
fin, because the cartouches on it had all been hacked out. Initially 
believed he had found the tomb of Queen Tiy - the damaged bodv 
identified as female - and published it as such. Subsequently, the 
changed sex and was identified as Akhenaten, the previously : 
female characteristics of the skeleton being paralleled with 
Akhenaten's portrayals, especially the pelvic area. More detaik 

Smenkhkare 127 

tail of one of the finely carved heads 
m an alabaster canopic jar found in 
55. It is now thought to have 
■rxed to Queen Kiya, the possible 
: jt of Tutankhamun (p. 130). Cairo 
' ..-cum. 

sic examination, however, now suggests that the body belonged to 
Smenkhkare, and serological examination (blood grouping) of tissue, as 
well as close skull measurement comparisons, indicate that the occu- 
pant was a brother, or possibly half-brother, of Tutankhamun - the 
entrance to whose tomb (KV 62) is a mere 15 yards (13.7 m) away across 
the Valley floor. 

At one time, it appears that there were three bodies in the tomb. One 
of them was that of Queen Tiy, and parts of her great gold overlaid 
wooden sarcophagus shrine were found there. Her body was probably 
taken from here round into the West Valley to join her husband, 
Amenhotep III, in KV 22 (p. 119). Four alabaster canopic jars with finely 
carved female heads wearing the characteristic court wig of the period 
were found in the tomb; they show evidence of having been adapted by 
the addition of a royal uraeus to the brow which was subsequently bro- 
ken off. Unfortunately they are uninscribed, but were presumably en 
suite with the coffin. It has been suggested that the canopic lids are por- 
traits of Kiya, a hitherto obscure junior queen of Akhenaten (p. 130). 

The cartouches on the coffin had all been deliberately hacked out, lit- 
erally to deny the occupant access to the next world because loss of 
name was a terrible thing. The texts still in place, however, had femi- 
nine endings to the appropriate words, indicating that the coffin had 
been made for a royal female. This was thought possibly to have been 
Merytaten, Smenkhkare^ wife, or now, Kiya. The cartouches, it was 
suggested, had been hacked out because the perpetrators believed that 
the occupant was the hated Akhenaten (his could have been the third 
body in the tomb at the time). It seems that they hoped to remove the 
bodies of Queen Tiy and Smenkhkare from the contamination of associ- 
ation with the heretic king Akhenaten, but made a mistake and 
removed Akhenaten's body instead. On that basis, somewhere in a 
small undiscovered tomb or cache in or near the Valley of the Kings, 
Akhenaten's body may still lie undisturbed. It will be accompanied by 
whatever of Smenkhkare's funerary equipment was removed from 
Tomb 55, and that should include ushabti figures for Smenkhkare 
because, although examples are known for the rest of the royal family, 
not even a fragment of one survives bearing his name. 

. badly water-damaged rishi (feather- 
. -ration) wooden coffin as found in 

^5. Originally made for a female, as 
e case endings of the texts indicate, it 
leld a male body now identified as that 
>! Smenkhkare. Recent studies suggest 
it was made for Queen Kiya and 
the canopic jars [above] in the tomb 
. re en suite with it. It is now in the 
.iro Museum. 

128 The New Kingdom 



( EgTfE 



Birth name 

Manifestations is 



('Living Image of 


the Aten') 


Adopted name (Year 


2) + epithet 






('Living Image of 


Amun, Ruler of 


Upper Egyptian 




Also known as 




Tutankhamon etc. 


Throne name 

Tomb KV 62, Valley 


of the Kings 

('Lord of 





The gold death mask of 
Tutankhamun that covered the 
mummy's head within the golden 
coffin (p. 132). Cairo Museum. 


Before the spectacular discovery of his almost intact tomb in th 
of the Kings (KV 62) in November 1922, Tutankhamun was a sh. 
and little known figure of the late 18th Dynasty. To a certain ex: 
still is, despite the prominence he has acquired from the content- 

Tutankhamun's name was known in the early years of this c . 
from a few references, but his exact place in the sequent 
'Amarna kings 7 was uncertain. Like Akhenaten and Ay, his nan 
been omitted from the classic king lists of Abydos and Karnak 
simply jump from Amenhotep III to Horemheb. Indeed, Tutankh.. 
exact identity - and his parentage - is still a matter of some conjc 
although it is clear that the young prince was brought up at 
probably in the North Palace. A number of items found in his t 
relics of his life at the Aten court, notably the Aten ; s disc show 
tecting him and his young wife, Ankhesenpaaten, on the pictona 
panel of his gold-inlaid throne (opposite). 

Towards the end of Akhenaten's reign the senior member- 
court, especially Ay and Horemheb, probably realized that things 



** # 

r/v:\iA?;;rv 18 






;T^v> 13 



■ ve) Gilded wooden statue of Isis, 
nc of the four goddesses that guarded 
:he canopic shrine and chest of 
utankhamun with their outstretched 
-.>. Cairo Museum. 

Below right) Detail of the gold-covered 
and inlaid back panel of Tutankhamun's 
rone ; the king is seated whilst his 
:.•. Ankhesenpaaten (it carries the 
jnama form of their names) adjusts his 
ad Collar.Cairo Museum. 

Below) The king's Aten-style name in a 
_artouche from the throne's outer arm. 

not go on as they were. Smenkhkare, Akhenaten's brother (or son?) and 
co-regent, must have come to the same conclusion since he had left 
Akhetaten and moved back to the old secular capital, Memphis, where 
he may have been in contact with the proscribed members of the priest- 
hood of Amun before his death and burial at Thebes. Soon after 
Akhenaten's death, Tutankhaten (as he then was) was crowned at 
Memphis. Aged about nine when he succeeded, the young king would 
have had no close female relatives left - his probable mother Kiya 
(p. 130), his stepmother Nefertiti and his elder step-sisters all being 
dead. He was probably under the direct care and influence of Ay, the 
senior civil servant, and Horemheb, the military man. Tutankhaten' s 
wife, Ankhesenpaaten, was evidently older than he since she was 
already of child-bearing age, seemingly having had a daughter by her 
father, Akhenaten. 

As soon as the new king had been installed, a move was made back to 
the old religion. This was signified radically in Year 2 when both king 
and queen changed the -aten ending of their names to -amun. 
Tutankhamun probably had little to do with this or indeed many other 
decisions - his advisors' were the ones who held the reins and manipu- 
lated the puppet strings of the boy-king. A great 'Restoration' stele 
records the reinstallation of the old religion of Amun and the reopening 
and rebuilding of the temples. The stele is known from two copies, both 
of which were later usurped by Horemheb, as were many other monu- 
ments of Tutankhamun. A large number of reliefs and statues have 
been identified as originally belonging to Tutankhamun (the majority 
showing him either in the company of Amun or as the god himself), for 





I . i^B! I 

\m : >m 



130 The New Kingdom 

Who Was Tutankhamun? 

Exactly who Tutankh am un was is still 
a matter of some conjecture, An 
inscription on one of the great red 
granite lions from the temple at 
Soleb refers to Amenhotep III as his 
'father'. Given that Akhen ate n 
reigned for about 16 years, coupled 
with the fact that Tutankhamun was 
about nine years old when he 
became king, it seems highly 
implausible that Amenhotep could 
have been his real father (not to 
mention that Queen Tiy would have 
been somewhat old for child-bearing). 
Rather, it is much more likely that the 
word 'father' was used very loosely to 
stress the young king's ideological 
connections with Amenhotep III and 
the return to orthodoxy. Thus, 
Amenhotep III was probably his 
grandfather, and Akhenaten his 

This raises another question, 
because Akhenaten's chief wife 
Nefer+iti was always shown 
accompanied by daughters, never by 
a son. The assumption is that 
another queen at the court was his 
mother. One name is particularly 
prominent at Am am a: that of a lady 
named Kiya. She certainly seems to 
have been married to Akhenaten, as 
one of her titles testifies, 'Greatly 
Beloved Wife'. Perhaps she was the 
Mitannian princess Tadukhepa, the 
daughter of King Tushratta who was 
given an Egyptian name. She was 
clearly high in favour before Year 9, 
but she disappears about Year 11 - 
perhaps this was when Tutankhaten 
was born and Kiya died in childbirth; 
damaged mourning scenes in the 
Amarna royal tomb (room alpha, on 
Wall F) might support this theory, in 
earlier reliefs Kiya is shown 
accompanied by a small daughter - 
possibly Tutankhaten had an elder 
sister. Many of Kiya' s monuments 
after Year 11 are reinscribed with the 
name of Akhenaten 's eldest 
daughter, Merytaten, wno had 
succeeded in her mother's role as 
chief wife after Nefertiti's death 
(p. 124). 

although the inscriptions have been changed, the king's boyish fe 
are clearly recognizable. Extensive building works were carried 
Karnak and Luxor in Tutankhamun 's name, especially the great 
nade and the relief scenes of the Festival of Opet at Luxor, but . 
subsequently taken over by Horemheb. 

Apart from the pivotal return to Thebes and the cult of Am;. 
events from Tutankhamun's reign have been documented, 
campaigns were apparently mounted in Nubia and Palestine/Syri 
gested by a brightly painted gesso box from Tutankhamun - 
which has four spirited scenes featuring the king. One shows him 
ing lions in the desert, another gazelles, whilst on the third and I 
he furiously attacks Nubians and then Syrians, who fall to his 
Finely carved scenes of prisoners in the Memphite tomb of the mi 
commander-in-chief, Horemheb, lend some veracity to the seen 
the gesso box, as does the painting in the tomb of Huy, Vi, 
Nubia, which shows subservient Nubian princes and piles of tribi 
is doubtful, however, that Tutankhamun actually took part in j 
the campaigns. 

Tutankhamun's retinue 

In addition to the two premier figures of Ay and Horemheb, the 
of other high officials who served during Tutankhamun 's reu 
known to us. Two of them were accorded the privilege of dor 
objects to the king's burial. One was Nakhtmin, a military office 
Horemheb and a relative of Ay (possibly a son). He presented fivi 
wooden ushabtis, each inscribed with his name under the feet. 1 
a fine portrait head of Nakhtmin in Cairo, broken from a dya. 
with his beautiful but unnamed wife. Another official was Mavj 
was Tutankhamun's Treasurer and also Overseer of the 
Eternity (the royal cemetery), where his name is also known from 
fito in a fine hand on a wall in the tomb of Tuthmosis IV re - 
restorations being carried out, presumably the checking and re^w : 
of the royal mummy (p. 114). To Tutankhamun's tomb Mav 
tributed a fine large wooden ushabti (again with his name : 
under its feet), and a beautifully carved effigy of the mummified k 
a lion-headed bier with two delightful ka and ba birds watchin 
him. Maya's tomb was located at Saqqara in 1843 by Richard L 
when the splendid statues of him and his wife Meryt were remo 
Leiden. In 1986 the tomb was rediscovered by Professor Geofr: 
through a robbers' tunnel from a nearby tomb. 

Another high official to have a tomb at Thebes (TT 40) v. - 
Viceroy of Nubia. A vast wall painting, about 17 ft (c. 6 m) Ion - 
Huy in the full finery of his office presenting the princes of noi 
south Nubia, together with their families and retainers, to the k:: 
least amongst the representations is the entourage of a Nubian p 
she in her chariot, and the vast piles of tribute. This may all 
result of Horemheb's military foray into Nubia. 

■ < 

* I 


1 View of the Valley of the Kings 
the cliffs above, in a similar 
nation to the plan, above. The 
red wall in the centre is the 
ce to Tutankhamun's tomb 

The death of a king 

Tutankhamun died young, probably during his ninth regnal 
year. Evidence for this is twofold. First, forensic analysis of 
his mummy has put his age at death at about 1 7. Secondly, 
clay seals on wine jars found in his tomb record not only the 
type of wine, the vineyard and the name of the chief vintner, 
but also the king's regnal year when each wine was laid 
down. The highest recorded date is Year 9, suggesting that 
Tutankhamun died in that year. 

There is no positive evidence on Tutankhamun's mummy 
as to how he met his death: he certainly did not die of con- 
sumption as was once thought. However, autopsies and X- 
rays have located a small sliver of bone within the upper 
cranial cavity. It may have arrived there as the result of a 
blow, but whether deliberately struck, to indicate murder, or 
the result of an accident, such as a fall from a chariot, it is 
not possible to say. 

The discovery of Tutankhamun's tomb 

Several finds made in the Valley of the Kings over the years led Howard 
Carter to believe that the king was still somewhere in the Valley: a 
small faience cup bearing Tutankhamun's name (1905-6 season), the 
remnants of materials used in the king's embalming and of a funerary 
feast or wake (1907), followed two years later in 1909 by a cache of gold 
fragments from chariot and furniture fittings with the king's name and 
that of Ay as a commoner. The story of Carter's quest and his under- 
standing patron, the Fifth Earl of Carnarvon, is well known. 

132 The New Kingdom 

The Painted Burial 

The only room to be decorated was 
the burial chamber, whose four walls 
are painted with scenes of 
Tutankhamun's funeral and the 
Underworld. On the east waif, the 
king' > catafalque is drawn on a sledge 
to the tomb. The south wail shows him 
being welcomed into the Afterworld in 
the company of Hathor, Isis and 
Anubis. The west wall (upon which the 
others are focused) has extracts from 
the 'Book of the Amduat' (That Which 
Is in the Underworld) and the 
squatting figures ui twelve baboons, 
representing the hours of the night 
through which the king will pass. 

The north wall is the most 
interesting, however, for here the 
decoration falls into three groups. The 

LM til *£* p""""* 


first scene, on the right (p. 13" 
shuws Tutankh-amun's success 
dressed in a priest's panther skir 
wearing the Blue Crown, perform ^ 
the ceremony of the Opening of :- • 
IViouth on the king's standing C = 
form mummy. This painting is l 
amongst royal tomb decoration. \ 
Tutankhamun is welcomed by t" 
dess Nut (who is normally fc 
on the underside of the sarcop 
lid or over the whole ceiling of the 
tomb, arching her body protect 
over the king). The final section : 
north wall shows Tutankhamir 
his ka in close attendance, be 
embraced by Osiris in welcome tc 

The entire decoration of the 
chamber had to be completed ir 
than 70 days, the period stipula:- 
the emu sss and bur: a 

[Below right) The solid gold inner coffin 
of Tutankhamun, weighing 1 10.4 kg, 
was found nestled within two other 
wooden coffins, each overlaid with 
beaten gold. Inside was the king's 
mummy, its face covered by the gold 
funerary mask (p. 128), weighing 10.23 
kg, and with over 1 70 items in all on the 
body. The second, or middle coffin of 
the three [opposite, below), has a 
distinctly different face represented on 
it from those on the first and the gold 
coffin. It may have been made, like the 
gold canopic coffinettes found in the 
tomb which copy it, for Smenkhkare 
(pp. 126-7). Cairo Museum. 

After many years of frustrating and meticulous working thn ;. 
Valley, clearing down to bedrock, the first of a flight of 16 desc 
steps was found on 4 November 1922, just in front and to the n^ 
of the entrance to the tomb of Ramesses VI (KV 9). By the next i 
stairs had been cleared, revealing the top of a blocked door, seale 
the impression of the necropolis guards (the recumbent jackal ove 
captives); behind it was a sloping corridor filled with debris and 
far end, another blocked doorway. Beyond it and at right angles 
large chamber, dubbed the Antechamber, and off it to the back 1 1 
a smaller room, the Annexe. To the right was a blocked doonv;. 
end wall guarded by two larger-than-lifesize black wood statues 
king. Beyond that was the burial chamber, almost complete" 
with the huge catafalque of four gold overlaid wooden shrines enc 
the red quartzite sarcophagus with its cracked granite lid (p. 135 





i the 
r the 
t the 
ras a 
l the 
\ the 

Above) Three of Tutankhamun's large 
wooden ushabtis wearing [left to right) 
the Red Crown, a wig, and the nemes 
:eaddress. Two were found in the 
Treasury (p. 134) but the third [far right) 
was found in the Antechamber, 
probably thrown down there when the 
robbers realized it was not solid gold. Its 
face is very different from its 
companions, possibly because it had 
been intended for someone else - 
perhaps even a woman, judging by its 
low slim hips. Carter numbers 330C, 
^26A and 458. Cairo Museum. 

Of the nest of three coffins in the sarcophagus, the innermost was of 
solid gold, the outer two of wood overlaid with gold. The king's 
mummy lay in the midst of all this splendour with its famous gold 
mask but, by comparison, the actual remains of the king himself were 
pitiful, the result of poor embalming. Beyond the painted burial cham- 
ber (the only decorated room in the tomb), through an open doorway 
guarded by a large recumbent wooden figure of the jackal Anubis, lay 
the Treasury. Here stood the great canopic wooden shrine enclosing the 
calcite canopic chest. The chest held four jars containing 
Tutankhamun's viscera, whose human-headed lids were modelled in 
the likeness of the king. 


Above) Three of Tutankhamun's large 
:>den ushabtis wearing [left to right) 
ic Red Crown, a wig, and the nemes 
. : Jdress. Two were found in the 
Treasury (p. 134) but the third [far right) 
%as found in the Antechamber, 

>ably thrown down there when the 
^bbers realized it was not solid gold. Its 
. is very different from its 
mpanions, possibly because it had 
ren intended for someone else - 
;.ps even a woman, judging by its 
slim hips. Carter numbers 330C, 
\ and 458. Cairo Museum. 

Of the nest of three coffins in the sarcophagus, the innermost was of 
solid gold, the outer two of wood overlaid with gold. The king's 
mummy lay in the midst of all this splendour with its famous gold 
mask but, by comparison, the actual remains of the king himself were 
pitiful, the result of poor embalming. Beyond the painted burial cham- 
ber (the only decorated room in the tomb), through an open doorway 
guarded by a large recumbent wooden figure of the jackal Anubis, lay 
the Treasury. Here stood the great canopic wooden shrine enclosing the 
calcite canopic chest. The chest held four jars containing 
Tutankhamun's viscera, whose human-headed lids were modelled in 
the likeness of the king. 

134 The New Kingdom 

[Above] A recumbent Anubis jackal 
guards the open doorway from the burial 
chamber into the Treasury in 
Tutankhamun's tomb. In the 
background is the great gilded wood 
canopic shrine (p. 129). 

[Below] One of two life-size figures of 
Tutankhamun that guarded the seated 
doorway to the burial chamber, here 
wearing the khat headdress, its 
companion the nemes. Cairo Museum. 

Hopes were high that amongst all the splendour there would be si 
important literary or historical documentation, but nothing of 
nature was found. Apart from the king's own remains, the most mov: 
aspect of the tomb must surely be the two stillborn mummified foeti 
es of baby girls, aborted at five months and possibly eight or n 
months, found in the Treasury. They must have been daughters 
Tutankhamun by Ankhesenamun. Had either lived, she would 
taken her mother's place in due course as the Great Royal Heiress 
rying on the Amarna blood line - indeed, the whole later history 
Egypt's 19th Dynasty could have been changed. 

The king's burial 

The immediate availability of the gold coffin and mask as well as t 
large granite sarcophagus box suggests that provision for Tutank 
amun's eventual burial had been in hand for some time. However 
actual death was obviously unexpected, for not only were a numb . 
the items provided for the burial 'from stock' and originally intende 
previous use, but even the tomb he was laid to rest in was not hm: 
for him. Signs of haste are evident everywhere, since the ritual req 
that all preparations and the embalming be completed within a t 
of 70 days. 

The tomb is far too small for a royal burial, and had almost cert 
been granted as a royal favour to the elderly Ay in recognition of his 
nal service over the years. (There are other instances of high offi 
being granted a similar privilege of burial in the Valley of the Kin 
Because of the king's sudden demise, and the fact that this torn 
virtually ready, it was appropriated and steps immediately taken t< 
orate the burial chamber. Tutankhamun's intended tomb seem:- 
that found by Giovanni Belzoni in 1816 at the far end of the w 
Valley of the Kings (KV 23) and later used by Ay. This conforms t< 
pattern of 18th Dynasty royal tombs and was probably chosen v 
propaganda motive in view, that is to bury the king fairly close t< 
grandfather Amenhotep III, thereby underlining the return to old 
and the old religion. 

Amongst Tutankhamun's equipment there were a number of 
that had obviously come from a funerary store. At least one of the 
wooden shrines had been made for Smenkhkare, as had the four 
gold coffinettes that held the king's viscera. It can be seen, some! 
with difficulty, where the earlier name had been excised 
Tutankhamun's added over the top. It is also possible that the 
(middle) coffin of the three (p. 133) had also been intend. 
Smenkhkare, since its features are unlike the other two and the 
ture canopic coffinettes are copies of it. 

Even the sarcophagus box was second-hand. Extensive recutt 
undertaken, to the extent of removing all the original texts (thus I 
ing the surface), and adding new ones,- wings were also added to all 
standing figures of the goddesses (possibly because they were on 


The Tome Rc es 

Contrary to popular belief, 
'jtankhamun's tomb was not intact 
men Carter found it: only the burial 
vas undisturbed. The tomb had been 
obbed twice in antiquity, qiu + e soon 
after it was sealed. The first robbery 

as for the gold and precious 
^ewellery, most of which the robbers 
got away with except for a notable 

oup of seven solid gold rings found 
still wrapped in the robber's kerchief 
and stuffed into a box in the Annexe. 
"ie jewellery now displayed in the 
Cairo Museum was mainly recovered 
" v om the body of the king, on which 

ere were over 170 items, 

Mte r t h e p riests a nd gu a rd s had 
reseaied the tomb, it was broken into 
again, this time to steal the precious 

s and unguent (largely stored in 
tall rather ungainly alabaster jars) 
. "Mch the thieves had left behind the 

st time. On this occasion they 
: 5me equipped with empty 
goatskins, The tomb was reseaied 
once again, this time for good: the 
entrance d red from view, 

sen in the floor or the Valley. 
Debris from the construction of 
Ramesses VI' s tomb buried the 

ance deeper still, and there it lay 
for over 3000 years, until Carter 
scovered the tomb in 1922. 

standing queens, as on Akhenaten's shattered sarcophagus?). The gran- 
ite lid was made to fit the quartzite box - obviously a different material 
but, again, time may have been of the essence and a suitable slab of 
granite was available at Thebes. In the event there was an accident and 
the lid was split in two. 

The succession in question 

Tutankhamun's early death left his wife Ankhesenamun a young 
widow in a very difficult situation. Obviously hemmed in on all sides 
by ambitious men much older than herself, she took an unprecedented 
step and wrote to Suppiluliumas I, king of the Hittites, explaining her 
plight. The evidence comes not from the Egyptian records but from 
excavations at Hattusas (Boghazkoy) in Turkey, the Hittite capital, 
where a copy was found in the archives. She told him her husband had 
died and she had no sons while he had many, so would he send one to 
marry her and continue the royal line. The Hittite king was highly sus- 
picious and made enquiries,- messengers were sent to check the details 
and reported back that such was the case. A Hittite prince, Zannanza, 
was therefore sent to Egypt to take up the queen's offer. It seems that he 
got no further than the border before he was murdered, and the deed can 
easily be laid at the door of Horemheb: he had the means as comman- 
der-in-chief of the army, the opportunity and certainly the motive. 


urial Chamber 


letric view of the corridor and four 
'^ers of Tutankhamun's tomb with 

136 The New Kingdom 



Hffl A ^ 

I ^ 






Djeserkheperure Setepenre 

Detail of Horemheb in the nemes 
headdress, flanked by deities, from a 
wall-painting in his tomb 



Birth name + (epithet) 
Ay (it-netjer) ('Ay, 
Father of the God') 

Throne name 
('Everlasting are the 
Manifestations of 




Tomb KV 23, Valley 

of the Kings 




Birth name + (epithet) 

Re, Chosen of Re') 

Hor-em-heb (mery- 


amun) ('Horus is in 


Jubilation, Beloved 


of Amun') 


Also known as 



Unknown wife, 


Mutnodjmet (sister 

Throne name 

of Nefertiti) 



Setep-en-re ('Holy 

Tomb KV 57, Valley 

are the 

of the Kings 

Manifestations of 


Ay, now an old man, apparently became king by marrying Tut;. 
amun's widow, Ankhesenamun - probably against her wishes sine . 
was actually marrying her grandfather. Evidence for the marriage . 
from the bezel of a ring seen by Professor Percy Newberry in Ca. 
the 1920s which carried the cartouches of Ankhesenamun and A\ * 
by side: a normal way of indicating a marriage. The wedding mus: 
taken place rapidly because Ay officiated at Tutankhamun's funeral . 
king wearing the Blue Crown. Furthermore, by burying his prede . 
he also consolidated his claim to the throne. 

In view of his age, it is small wonder that Ay's reign was brie 
mere four years. There are few monuments that can be identified 
- partly, no doubt, because many of them were usurped by Hore: 
At any rate, work continued on Tomb 23 in the Western 
(probably originally intended for Tutankhamun), and the walls 
extensively painted. It is to be noted that the lady accompanying 
the paintings is not Ankhesenamun but his older wife, Tiy. A 
stone sarcophagus was provided for Ay which, like Tutankha:: 
had goddesses enfolding the corners with their wings. The ton: 

* *? 



i* \A.-i i<> 









\n a painting unique amongst royal 
mb decoration Ay, Tutankhamun's 
.cessor, performs the ceremony of the 
>rening of the Mouth on the north wall 

Tutankhamun's burial chamber. 
hown crowned as king wearing the 
. Crown, he must obviously have 
ijrried Ankhesenamun, Tutankh- 
mun's widow, and succeeded to the 
trone all within the 70 days allowed 
3r the embalming and funerary 

found by Belzoni in 1816, the sarcophagus in fragments. Its complete 
and domed lid was only rediscovered in the burial chamber debris in 
1972. Ay's mummy has not been identified, although Professors Wente 
and Harris suggested in 1990 that the mummy from the 1881 cache 
hitherto identified as Amenhotep III might be that of Ay. In fact it is 
highly unlikely that Ay's mummy survives in view of the destruction 
wreaked in his tomb. Not only was the sarcophagus smashed, but his 
figure was hacked out and his name excised in the wall paintings and 
texts. No ushabti figures are known to exist for him either. This 
damnatio memoriae seems to have been carried out on the 
instructions of Ay's successor, Horemheb, which raises the curious 
question as to why he did not order Tutankhamun's tomb to be 
similarly attacked and robbed - after all, he could not have forgotten its 
location in less than a decade, particularly since he was so involved 
with the burial. 

In his mortuary temple at Thebes near Medinet Habu, Ay inscribed 
his name on two quartzite colossi of Tutankhamun, taken from the 
latter's temple nearby (possibly buried below that of Ay). Even these 
statues were usurped by Horemheb when he took over Ay's temple. 

It would appear that Ankhesenamun did not survive Ay and there is 
no later record of her after the ring bezel mentioned above. With her 
died the last of the true Amarna royal blood line. 


Horemheb 's background is virtually unknown except that he came 
from Herakleopolis near the entrance to the Faiyum and was obviously 
a career officer whose capabilities were early recognized. First serving 
under Amenhotep III, he became Great Commander of the Army under 
Akhenaten and was later appointed King's Deputy by Tutankhamun. 
He was obviously a highly ambitious man, and the death of Ay offered 
the perfect opportunity to restore to Egypt the strong leadership he felt 
she needed. Horemheb therefore declared himself king in 1321, 
consolidating his claim to the throne through his marriage to a lady 
named Mutnodjme, the sister of Nefertiti. He thus formed a link back 
to the female royal blood line, albeit a tenuous one. From evidence in 
his recently rediscovered tomb at Saqqara he appears to have had an 
earlier wife, but her name is not known. 

Horemheb must have been in middle age when he became king and 
he immediately set about restoring the status quo, reopening the 
temples, repairing them where necessary, and bringing back the 
priesthood of Amun. Here he did make a change, however: realizing the 
stranglehold they had endeavoured to put on Amenhotep III, he 
reappointed priests from the army, whose loyalties he could rely on. To 
consolidate his hold over the army, now that he was really no longer 
primarily a military man, he divided it under two separate 
commanders, one for the north and one for the south. 

138 The New Kingdom 

[Above] Horemheb in his military 
official capacity represented as a seated 
scribe in a diorite statue from Memphis. 
The base inscription invokes four 
Memphis deities and refers to his law 
enforcement. Metropolitan Museum, 
New York. 

[Below] Relief in Horemheb's Saqqara 
tomb showing him seated before a table 
of offerings, represented as a high noble 
before he became king. 

■Ik- ■■■■■- 4r — Hf/ ■ VW] : 

Horemheb usurped the monuments of his immediate precL 
Ay and Tutankhamun. To the two great 'Restoration 7 stel 
detailed the good works of Tutankhamun he simply added 
name. Embellishments were carried out at the great temple of 
Karnak where he initiated the great Hypostyle Hall and addc.: 
pylon, No. 9. Here he achieved two objects: first, he built the p\ 
the glory of Amun on the south side of Karnak; and second 
destroyed the hated temple to the Aten erected by Akhenatt 
simply dismantling it and using its small talatat ('two-hands v 
blocks as interior filling for the hollow pylon. Archaeologist > 
recovered thousands of these blocks during the restoration of thu 
and have been able to reconstruct great Amarna scenes. In one 
therefore, Horemheb's destructive scheme backfired: by hidir 
blocks in the pylon he preserved them for posterity. 

Horemheb took over Ay's mortuary temple on the west : - 
Medinet Habu, together with the two colossal quartzite s: 
Tutankhamun that Ay had himself usurped. Thus he in- 
completely expunging from the record any trace of his four : 
predecessors. He dated his reign from the death of Amen;. 
adding the intervening years to his own total; none of trK 
names appeared in any of the Ramesside king lists at Abyd 
Karnak. Furthermore, in the early 19th Dynasty tomb of 
Amenmosi at Thebes (TT 19), where two rows of seated stat 
kings and queens are depicted on the west wall, Horemheb i\ 
between Amenhotep III and Ramesses I. Kings of the 19th I 
were to regard him as the founder of their line, and this ;. 
explains why a number of tombs of officials, as well as I 
Ramesses IFs sister, the princess Tia, were deliberately placed r 
Saqqara tomb. 

Although official records of Horemheb ; s reign go as high a- \ 
(incorporating those of the Amarna pharaohs), his actual : 
almost 30 years was spent in consolidation. There is little evid 
external contact except for a campaign in Kush (possibly simply 
progress or inspection) and a trading expedition to the south. 


The two tombs of Horemheb 

Horemheb began his funerary preparations long before he 
inkling that he would become pharaoh, meaning that he alreai 
private tomb at Saqqara when, as king, he started to build 
large tomb in the Valley of the Kings. The tomb at Saqqara (lik 
Maya, Tutankhamun's Treasurer) had been partly discovere 
early 19th century ad when sculptures and reliefs were rem 
both to European collections (principally to Leiden), but it 
again until the excavations of the Egypt Exploration Society in I 

Excavations at the Saqqara tomb revealed that the v. 
superbly carved with scenes of Horemheb's military and coun 
From these we learn that there were at least two small l.. 


[Above] Detail from a relief recovered 
rrom Horemheb's Saqqara tomb in the 
early 19th century ad, showing him 
adorned with the gold collar of honour 
bestowed by a grateful pharaoh 
? Akhenaten or Tutankhamun). After he 
became king, workmen added the royal 
uraeus to his brow. Leiden Museum. 

Right) Horemheb's granite sarcophagus 
: only had winged goddesses 
[folding the corners but also the 

es of the Four Sons of Horus and 
ro figures of the jackal-headed god 
^nubis carved in sunken relief. When it 
ound by Davis in 1908 it was 
npty and stood amidst the wreckage of 
L>oden tomb furniture - of which many 
mplete examples were to be found in 
utankhamun's nearby tomb 14 years 

during Tutankhamun 's reign against Libyans and Syrians - the faces of 
the prisoners are especially well represented in the carvings. The tomb 
was badly wrecked in antiquity, but enough remained of shattered 
funerary furniture and reliefs and a superb openwork gold earring that 
the robbers must have dropped to testify that Horemheb's tomb was 
one of the finest in the area. He himself was not buried in the Saqqara 
tomb because of his elevation, although it appears that his two wives 
may have been. After Horemheb became pharaoh, he sent workmen to 
add the royal uraeus to his brow in the sculpted reliefs, even though he 
himself was not going to make use of the tomb (p. 138). 

Horemheb's tomb in the Valley of the Kings (KV 57) was found by 
Theodore Davis in 1908. As with all the tombs in the royal valley, it 
was unfinished and had been robbed. Davis found large quantities of 
shattered furniture and wooden figures of the king, examples of which, 
some 14 years later, were to be found complete in Tutankhamun's 
tomb, such as the king standing on the back of a striding panther 
(already known from the wall paintings in the later 20th Dynasty tomb 
of Seti II, KV 15). The painting of several rooms in the tomb had been 
finished to a very high standard. Work in other rooms, however, was 
still in progress when the king died, and these are particularly 
interesting because they show the manner of working - the outline 
grids and the corrections made. 

In the burial hall Davis found Horemheb's great red granite 
sarcophagus. Horemheb's mummy was not discovered, although the 
remains of four individuals were scattered in the burial hall and a side 
chamber. These were probably members of Horemheb's family, 
although it has been suggested that Ay's body may have been brought 
here from his tomb in the Western Valley after it had been robbed. It is 
possible that a graffito found in the tomb refers to Horemheb's body 
being moved to the tomb of Twosret and Setnakhte (KV 14) for restor- 
ation, but other than that there is no trace of it - it does not appear to 
be one of the unidentified bodies from the two mummy caches (p. 103). 

IT ls ^iipii^^ 

140 The New Kingdom 






Ramesses I 


Setl I (meryenptah) 


Detail of a wall painting of Ramesses I 
from his tomb (KV16) at Thebes, 
showing the king in the hieroglyphic 
gesture of praise. 


Birth name 


Ra-messes ('Re has 


Fashioned Him') 


Also known as 




Throne name 

Seti 1 



('Eternal is the 

Tomb KV 16, Valley 

Strength of Re') 

of the Kings 



Troop commander 


Ramesses I 


Birth name + (epithet) 


Seti (mery-en-ptah) 


('He of the god 


Seth, Beloved of 




Also known as 

(Name unknown), 

Sethos 1 (Greek) 

Ramesses II 

Throne name 



Tia, Henutmire 

('Eternal is the 


Justice of Re') 

Tomb KV 17, Valley 


of the Kings 

Ramesses 1 


The 19th Dynasty, despite its later luminaries, began on a fai 
note. Ramesses I, from whom the main part of the period 
name, 'Ramesside', came to be pharaoh almost by default. He ws 
ously the vizier, close friend and confidant of the pharaoh Hi 
who - having failed to produce an heir - appears to have bes : 
succession on his comrade. Ramesses must have been of 
years, probably into his fifties, and was not of royal blood. 
'career 7 army officer, the son of the troop commander, Seti. Thei 
came from the north-eastern Delta area of Avaris, the capita 
Hyksos invaders of 400 years earlier. 

The short reign of Ramesses I, probably only about two ye. 
him hardly any time to make his mark on history. There 
reliefs on the Second Pylon at Karnak and a stele dated early 
ond regnal year found at Wadi Haifa. His small tomb in the Vallt 
Kings (KV 16) was found by Belzoni on 10/11 October 1817 and 
all the signs of a hasty interment. The burial chamber was unf 
in fact it had been intended to be merely an antechamber : 
larger tomb. As so often, the tomb had been robbed in 









SetiI 141 

Family Tree: The Ramessides 

troop commander, Seti ? 


Queen Twosret 



Ramesses I 

Seti I 


Tia Henutmire Ramesses II Nefertari 



Amenhirkhopshef Meryetamun 

Takhat Merneptah Khaemwaset Bint-Anath 

I . 1 



Seti II Tiaa Takhat II 


Seti-Merneptah Siptah 
Seti I = king Tuya = queen or princess Khaemwaset - prince 

- marriage 

= offspring 

tofUes of the mummies of ( top to 
Mom) Seti I, Ramesses II and 

. meptah, respectively grandfather, 
ather and son. The first two were found 

:he 1881 Deir el-Bahari royal cache 

. :he last in the tomb of Amenhotep 

r. 1898. 

although some of the burial provisions still remained, notably the large 
granite sarcophagus, a pair of almost 6V2-ft (2-m) high wooden statues of 
the king once covered with thin gold foil, and a number of wooden stat- 
uettes of underworld deities with curious animal heads. Robbers had 
damaged the sarcophagus as they prised the lid off and there is evidence 
that they actually hurled some of the smaller statuettes against the 
tomb walls in destructive fury, since tiny slivers of gold foil have been 
observed attached to the painted plaster. Ramesses 7 mummy may not 
have survived (it certainly has not been identified), although it does 
appear to have been taken from the tomb before 968 bc, around the time 
when a number of the royal mummies were being moved to safety, 
eventually to be deposited in the tombs of Amenhotep II (KV 35) and 
Queen Inhapi (DB 320). 

The burial of Ramesses 7 wife, Queen Sitre, broke with earlier tradi- 
tions where the queen was apparently buried in her husbands tomb at a 
later date, if she outlived him. Sitre's tomb set a new precedent: it was 
placed in what is now known as the Valley of the Queens at Thebes. 
Like her husband's tomb, Sitre's (QV 38) was unfinished, with only a 
few paintings on the walls of the first chamber. 

Seti I 

Seti I had held the same titles of Vizier and Troop Commander as his 
father, Ramesses I, whom he rapidly succeeded. In order to restore 
Egyptian fortunes after the instability under the Amarna kings, he inau- 
gurated a policy of major building at home and a committed foreign pol- 
icy abroad. He took the additional title of 'Repeater of Births 7 , signifying 

142 The New Kingdom 

the beginning of a new and legitimate era. It was indeed a peric 
rebirth for Egypt, and during Seti's 13 -year reign Egyptian art and 
ture achieved a maturity and sophistication that were scarcely equ. 
in later centuries. Seti married within his own military 'caste', ch 
Tuya, the daughter of a lieutenant of chariotry, Raia. Their first 
was a boy, who died young, and their second a daughter, Tia. 
third, another boy, took his grandfather's name and later be 
Egypt's mightiest pharaoh, Ramesses II. A second daughter, born n 
later, was called Henutmire and she was to become a minor qut 
her elder brother in due course. 

[Below] Detail from Seti I's battle reliefs 
on the outer north wall of the Hypostyle 
Hall at Karnak - the king mounts his 
chariot under the protection of two 
vulture goddesses. 

Seti's military campaigns 

Seti led a military expedition into Syria as early as the first year 
reign. The records of this campaign and several subsequent ones 
least the initial six years of Seti's rule are preserved on the outer 
and east walls of the great temple of Amun at Karnak. They foil 
basic pattern of the army on the march, where Seti followed hi> 
cessor Tuthmosis Ill's tactic of swift movement up through the 
Strip and Palestinian coast, thereby securing his flank and supply 
by sea into Phoenician ports. Fortresses are shown being attacked 
Syrians captured, bound and carried off, the whole culminating 
huge representation of prisoners being slain before Amun. 

Other campaigns were waged against the Libyans of the 
desert, and there was a renewed attack upon Syria and Lebanon 
for the first time, Egyptian met Hittite in battle. One scene at 
shows the capture of Kadesh that was to be the focus of the famou 
tie in later years under Seti's son, Ramesses II (p. 150). All the whil 
was endeavouring to restore the past glories of the earlier 18th 
pharaohs Tuthmosis III and Amenhotep III. 

A high point of Egyptian art 

During Seti's reign some tremendous building projects were i 
taken. The quality of the reliefs that embellished new cult tempi i 
his tomb are virtually unsurpassed in Egyptian art. At Karnak, \ 
his victories were chronicled, Seti began the work of building the 
Hypostyle Hall in the Temple of Amun that was to be completed b 
son Ramesses. One of the wonders of ancient architecture and plan 
the Hall covers an area of 335 x 174 ft (102 x 53 m), and has 134 gig 
columns of which the inner 12, slightly higher than the outer row- 
ft (23 m) in height, had clerestory lighting via stone grills through i 
the only light entered the Hall. Seti's reliefs are on the north - 
contrast in their fine style with the later additions. 

At Abydos, the ancient cult centre of the god Osiris, Seti bu. 
is undoubtedly the most remarkable decorated temple among 
those of ancient Egypt. Its construction indicates Seti's determn 
to demonstrate his devotion to Egypt's most popular deity, and t< 
himself with the distant origins of Egyptian monarchy. Unusualb 

Seti I 143 

The Major Buildings 
of Seti 


Hypostyle Hall in the Temple of 



Temple of Seti I 

Os ire ion 

Temple to Ramesses I 

Thebes, Valley of the Kings: 
Tomb KV 17 

Gourna, Thebes: 
Mortuary Temple 

:ht) View through the great 
rest of columns representing the 
imeval papyrus marsh in the 
t-postyle Hall of the temple of Amun 


w) In a series of sculpted and 
jd niches in the temple of Seti I at 
ios the king is seen making 
ings to various gods. Here he offers 
jquet of flowers to the hawk-headed 
- who wears the Double Crown of 
r and Lower Egypt. The icono- 

s interesting since the king was 
tell Horus upon earth. 

temple has seven sanctuaries, dedicated for the deified Seti himself 
(who died during its construction), Ptah, Re-Harakhte, Amun-Re, 
Osiris, Isis and Horus. In the main hall the superb reliefs show the king 
officiating in the temple as priest, offering to the god in his shrine and 
carrying out all the necessary daily functions of the priestly office in the 
service of the god. One part of the Abydos temple of particular interest 
and importance is the so-called 'Hall of Records' or 'Gallery of Lists 7 . 
Here Seti is shown with the young Ramesses before long official lists of 
the pharaohs from the earliest times to his own reign. It is notable that 
the names of the Amarna pharaohs are completely omitted, as if they 
did not exist in Egyptian history. The cartouche sequence jumps from 
Amenhotep III directly to Horemheb (p. 12). 

In the desert at the rear of the great temple at Abydos Seti built a 
most enigmatic structure known as the Osireion. It is set at a lower 
level than the main temple (and now subject to almost continual flood- 
ing because of the high water table) and was originally entered through 

144 The New Kingdom 


[Left] Detail from the eastern sec: 
the unusual astronomical ceiling erf 
burial chamber in the tomb of Set 
the Valley of the Kings. It shows :r 
constellations for the northern s 
whilst most royal tombs also have i 
figure of the sky goddess Nut ex: . 
her protection over the sarcophagus 
the pharaoh below. 

Burial Chamber 

[Below] Watercolour copy of a scene in 
the tomb of Seti I by Henry Beechey, 
c. 1818, shortly after Belzoni's discovery 
of it. The fine and accurate detail by 
many of the talented early artists has 
enabled scholars such as Professor Erik 
Hornung to restore and reconstruct 
many aspects of the tomb now 
vanished or badly damaged. 


a long tunnel covered with painted scenes from the Book of Gau 
tunnel leads eventually to a huge hall (100 x 65 ft, 30 x 20 m). T 
was the focal point of the building and it was here that the body 
together with his funerary equipment, rested before being taken I 
ial in the Valley of the Kings. The whole structure, underground 
central mound surrounded by canal water, reflected the origin- 
from the primeval waters. 

Apart from a small temple at Abydos dedicated to Seti - 
Ramesses I, and his own mortuary temple at Thebes, now 
destroyed, the ultimate building of Seti's reign was his ton: 
Valley of the Kings (KV 17). Discovered by Giovanni Belzoni in 
1817, it is without doubt the finest in the Valley, as well as bei 
longest and deepest (both measurements being over 300 ft or 
The workmanship in the decorations is superb, with finely deli 
low reliefs and vibrant colours. In the burial hall Belzoni found th 
nificent translucent alabaster sarcophagus of the king, wh 
Belzoni remarked, 'merits the most particular attention, not hav 

[Below] Detail of a painted pillar in the 
burial hall of Seti I's tomb showing the 
king in the company of the ibis-headed 
Thoth, god of wisdom, learning and 

[Below] Isometric cross-section of the 
tomb of Seti I showing how its corridors 
dive steeply over 300 ft (100 m 
underground to reach the burial hall. 
Various stratagems were employed in an 
endeavour to defeat the tomb robbers, 
such as the deep shaft early on, both to 
catch any rainwater flooding in and to 
lead the robbers into thinking that the 
burial was at its bottom, instead of 
through the painted false wall on its far 

'False' Burial Chamber 

Queen Tuya 

Seti's wife o nd by 

■any years. When Ramesses II 
oecarne king, she appeared as the 
ujeen-mother on the fagade at the 
-ole of Abu Simbei. Statues of her 
ere placed in her son's mortuary 
:emple, the Ramesseum, and in his 
-ewly founded city. Piramesse in the 
Delta. She died, a grand old lady, 
rbably in her sixties in Year 22 or 
y 23 of Ramesses' reign about 
: 258 bc, and was buried in a large 
:omb in the Valley of the Queens 

30). Reclearance of the tomb in 
1972 produced a canopic jar lid with 

e ightful portrait of her petite 

equal in the world'. The lower box or chest was largely intact, but the 
sculpted lid with the recumbent figure of Seti had been badly smashed 
by ancient robbers and its pieces lay round about. Inside and out, the 
sarcophagus is carved with hieroglyphs, once filled with blue-green 
paint. On the floor of the chest and the outside of the lid are texts from 
the Book of Coming Forth by Day, and on the inside walls and the exte- 
rior, from the Book of Gates. 

Seti's mummy, the finest of the surviving royal mummies, shows a 
noble face. It was not found in his tomb but was amongst the great royal 
cache of mummies revealed at Deir el-Bahari in 1881. A number of 
dockets on the mummy record that, before reaching its final resting 
place, it had been restored during the reign of the High Priest of Amun, 
Herihor (1080-1074 bc), presumably after the first robbery in the tomb, 
then again about Year 15 of Smendes (c. 1054 bc). After this Seti's 
mummy was joined in his tomb for a short while by that of his son, 
Ramesses II, before both were finally hidden in the Deir el-Bahari tomb 
(DB 320) in Year 10 of Siamun (c. 968 bc). 

146 The New Kingdom 






Ramesses II 



(Left) The throne name of Ramesses II, 
Usermaatre, carved in alabaster 
hieroglyphs that have been inlaid into a 
blue faience plaque. Egyptian Art 
Museum, Madrid. 

[Right) The upper half of a black granite 
seated statue of Ramesses II wearing the 
Blue or War Crown (khepresh). 
Discovered by Drovetti, it is probably 
the finest existing portrait of the king. 
Turin Museum. 


Birth name + (epithet) 


Ra-messes (mery- 

See list p. 148 

amun) ('Re has 


Fashioned Him, 


Beloved of Amun') 


Also known as 




Throne name 

Merneptah, etc. 

User-maat-re Setep- 


en-re (The Justice 

Meryetamun, Bint- 

of Re is Powerful, 

Anath, Nebettawy, 

Chosen of Re') 




Seti 1 

Tomb KV 7, Valley 


of the Kings 



Ramesses II, who acceded to power at the age of 25, can rightly be said 
to merit his popular title, 'Ramesses the Great 7 . During his long reign of 
67 years, everything was done on a grand scale. No other pharaoh con- 
structed so many temples or erected so many colossal statues and 
obelisks. No other pharaoh sired so many children. Ramesses 7 Victory"' 
over the Hittites at Kadesh was celebrated in one of the most repeated 
Egyptian texts ever put on record. By the time he died, aged more than 
90, he had set his stamp indelibly on the face of Egypt. 

As a young prince, Ramesses was imbued with the military tradition 
established by his grandfather, after whom he was named. From his ear- 
liest years all hopes for the new dynasty were pinned on him. At the age 
of ten he was recognized as 'Eldest King's Son 7 by title (despite there 
being no other, his elder brother having died long before), and by his 
mid-teens he is found associated with Seti as a diminutive figure in the 
reliefs of the Libyan campaigns at Karnak. Ramesses was allowed to 
participate in Seti 7 s subsequent campaigns against the Hittites in Syria. 

The young prince rode well in harness alongside his experience c. 
father, learning his trade of statecraft. Ramesses is often found referred 
to in inscriptions, overseeing the cutting of obelisks from the granite 
quarries at Aswan, involved in Seti 7 s great building projects, and also 

/> J*J> 










Ramesses II 147 


Seti an es II 

The great dedication stele in Seti I's 
temple at Abydos, the longest 
inscription of his son Ramesses I I's 
reign (116 lines), is the prime 
source for details of Ramesses' 
early years and association with his 
father in the kingship. It was set up 
later in Ramesses' reign and opens 
by recounting how he sailed to 
Abydos, the sacred shrine of Osiris, 
and was aghast to find that the 
cemetery buildings of the earlier 
kings lay in ruins. Seti's beautiful 
temple, under construction when he 
died, remained unfinished, and its 
endowments from land and the 
goldmines in the eastern desert had 
been suspended, despite Seti's own 
earlier 19-line long inscription calling 
down the retribution of Osiris, Isis 
and Horus upon any official or his 
T 'amily who might interfere with 
arrangements for the temple's 

Ramesses tells how he 
immediately summoned the Court, 

naking known his intention to 
romplete and re-endow Seti's 
:empfe. Then he begins to recount 
the details of his appointment as co- 

egent all those years earlier: 

T he All-Lord [Seti] himself made me 
^reat, while I was a child, until I 

eigned ... / was installed as eldest 

on, as hereditary prince upon the 
:hrone of Geb [the earth god] ... . [He, 
Seti, said] "Crown him as king, that I 

-ay see his beauty while I live with 
nim" ...He equipped me with 
,vomen, a royal harem, as beautiful ' 

s those of the palace, those of the 
South and North were under my 
The Court, naturally, responded with 


inaugurating his own (smaller) temple to Osiris at Abydos. Many 
inscriptions of up-and-coming young men attest to Seti's keen and 
acute eye in spotting the high flyers, who were to grow up alongside 
Ramesses and serve him well in his turn (although he outlived most of 

The royal wives 

The youthful Ramesses took his two principal wives, Nefertari and 
Istnofret, at least ten years before Seti's death. The old king thus saw 
his grandchildren around him - at least 5 sons and 2 daughters by them, 
as well as possibly another 10 to 15 children from other ladies of the 
harem. No wonder that in later years and after further marriages, 
Ramesses could boast of over 100 sons and daughters that simply were 
not numbered. 

Virtually nothing is known of the background of either Nefertari or 
Istnofret except that Nefertari was always the Chief Queen until her 
death in about Year 24 of the reign. Her recently restored tomb in the 
Valley of the Queens (QV 66) is one of the wonders of ancient Thebes. 
Istnofret took Nefertari's place, but only for some ten years as she 
seems to have died about Year 34. Nefertari bore Ramesses' first son, 
the Crown Prince Amenhirkhopshef, and at least three other sons and 
two daughters. Istnofret bore a son named Ramesses, plus two other 
important sons, Khaemwaset and Merneptah (the king's eventual suc- 
cessor). Khaemwaset later became famous as a Magician', and is often 
referred to today as the first archaeologist thanks to his interest in 
ancient monuments and their restoration. The 5th Dynasty pyramid of 
Unas at Saqqara, for example, bears his inscription high up on the south 
face (p. 63). 

Following royal custom, Ramesses took many of his other and subse- 
quent wives from his immediate family. They included Henutmire, his 
younger sister, and three of his daughters: Meryetamun, Bint-Anath (a 
distinctly Syrian name meaning 'Daughter of Anath', which is curious 
since her mother was Istnofret) and Nebettawy. After peace had been 
concluded with the Hittites (see below), Ramesses cemented the new 
alliance by taking a Hittite princess as his bride, given the Egyptian 
name Maathorneferure. Seven years later, in 1239 bc, a second Hittite 
princess joined the court. In his old age, Ramesses' harem was nothing 
if not cosmopolitan, numbering another Hittite princess together with 
Syrian and Babylonian royal ladies. 

The Hittite wars 

Relations with the Hittites on Egypt's Syrian frontier were far from 
friendly during the first part of Ramesses' reign. In Seti's time, Egypt 
had kept her influence on the southern Phoenician coastline ports while 
the Hittites retained the northern city of Kadesh. In Year 4 of Ramesses' 
reign, however, there was a revolt in the Levant and in the spring of 
Year 5 (1275 bc) the new king was forced to mobilize his army. 


148 The New Kingdom 

The Queens of Ramesses 

During his long reign Ramesses took 
eight principal wives, but Nefertari was 
his first and favourite among them. Her 
tomb is the finest in the Valley of the 
Queens. Everywhere there is superb 
drawing and colour, recently restored to 
much of its pristine original condition 
by a team of international 
conservationists backed by the J. Paul 
Getty Museum, Malibu. Details are 
shown here. [Right] The queen, 
described in the hieroglyphs as 'The 
Deceased Great Royal Wife Nefertari', 
being greeted by the goddess Hathor, 
identified by her name before her rather 
than by her usual iconography of a 
woman with cow's ears. [Below] Maat, 
the goddess of truth, kneels with her 
protective outstretched wings above the 
entrance to Nefertari's burial chamber. 
The queen's royal cartouches appear on 
the lintel and door jambs. 


1 Nefertari 

2 Istnofret 

3 Bint-Anath 
daughter of Istnofret 

4 Meryetamun 
daughter of Nefertari 

5 Nebettawy 

6 Henutmire 
king's sister 

7 Maathomeferure 
1st Hittite princess 

8 (Name unknown) 
2nd Hittite princess 

Ramesses II 149 

- Another detail from Nefertari's 
' is this charming representation of 
...en playing the board game senet. 
l word senet means 'passing 7 , but its 
. as a hieroglyph can also be read as 
-Jure', both sentiments appropriate 
• . queen's role in the afterlife. 

ove) This beautiful painted 
lestone bust of a Ramesside queen 
.: in the Ramesseum has long been 
.niified. Recently, an identical but 
iossal representation was found at 

:nin with the name of Meryetamun 
it, a daughter of Ramesses II who 
came the 'Great Royal Wife' after the 
ciih of her mother Nefertari. Cairo 

%ht) The diminutive figure of a 
cet'ul queen standing between the 

\ of the colossal granite statue of 
messes II in the first courtyard of the 
aple at Karnak may be his daughter 
it-Anath, whose mother was queen 
■^.. ^ssa&KJs, ^ &gH£ may, 
•sent Nefertari. Some doubt exists 
rcause the statue was later usurped by 
21st Dynasty pharaoh Pinedjem I. 

150 The New Kingdom 


Reconstruction painting from a relief of 
Ramesses II at the siege of Dharpur 
carved on the inner south wall of the 
Hypostyle Hall in the Ramesseum. As 
usual in Egyptian art, the king is shown 
at huge scale in relation to everyone 
else. He tirelessly fires his arrows from 
his charging chariot, guiding the horses 
by the reins tied around his waist. The 
Hittite enemy chariotry is thrown into 
confusion, their citadel attacked with 
scaling ladders and the defenders plunge 
from the battlements as they put up a 
useless resistance. The long 
hieroglyphic inscription extols, as usual, 
the great valour of the king, aided by the 
god Amun. 

Ramesses gathered together one of the greatest forces of Egyptian t 
ever seen, 20,000 men basically in four divisions of 5000 each, : 
respectively after the gods Amun, Re, Ptah and Seth. 

Following virtually in Tuthmosis Ill's footsteps of some 2C 
earlier, Ramesses moved up through the Gaza Strip and was abo 
miles from Kadesh in early May. With such a large army, plus a 
necessary ancillary elements of baggage trains and camp foil 
progress was slow and extended over a vast area. Two spies car 
and interrogated on the approach to Kadesh indicated that the 
army was over 100 miles to the north. Ramesses therefore move*, 
ward confidently with the first division, Amun, crossed the 
Orontes and camped to the west of Kadesh, a city that had l: 
strong defences by diverting water through a canal from the river, 
ing the city virtually an island. Ramesses' complacency was sop: 
en, however, when a forward patrol captured two more spit 
revealed under torture that the previous pair had been a 'plant 
Hittite army was in fact just the other side of Kadesh, wail 

The Hittite king, Muwatallis, had assembled an army ever. > 
than the Egyptian one. In two sections each of about 18,000 an. 
men, plus 2500 chariots, it was a formidable force - and it struck i 
immediately at the Re division, coming up to join Ramesses. T. 
ots swept through the Egyptian ranks, scattering the soldiery 1: 
and then plunged into the recently made camp. Confusion rek 
Ramesses found himself isolated, abandoned by all except his pe 
guard and shield-bearer, Menna. Nevertheless, as a quick-witted 
mander, he rallied his few forces to resist the attack. He was save . 


Ramesses II 151 


l^.Dtian reinforcements 


Egyptian | Majn 

| C ™ P Kadeshf Hittite 


Division of Ptah 

- ; - Forest of Labwi 

Division of Seth 

troop movements at the battle of 

annihilation or, worse, capture by his elite guard which, having taken a 
different route from the main army, came up rapidly and made a flank 
attack on the Hittites. Forced to fight on two fronts, Muwatallis retreat- 
ed and the quiet of night settled over the battlefield, which Ramesses 

The following day the now reunited Egyptian forces attacked, but the 
outcome was virtually a stalemate. Ramesses, however, did not view it 
as such. The pharaoh, young and remembering no doubt that his father 
Seti had not been able to hold Kadesh, reserved his options when 
Muwatallis proposed a peace. The Egyptian army marched home and 
the status quo remained. 

Bombastic accounts of the battle and Ramesses' personal bravery 
under the hand of Amun were later inscribed on the walls of the tem- 
ples at Karnak, Luxor (three versions), the Ramesseum (twice) and 
Ramesses' temples at Abydos, Abu Simbel and Derr. Many graphic inci- 
dents are illustrated in the reliefs: the charging chariotry, the heroic 
king, mercenaries in distinctive horned helmets cutting off the right 
hands of the slain for accounting purposes and, ludicrously (on the back 
of the Second Pylon in the Ramesseum), the fleeing Prince of Aleppo 
who tumbled into the Orontes, was fished out and suspended upside 
down by his adherents in an effort to drain him and bring him round. 
Accounts of the battle were also written in hieratic on papyrus, often as 
schoolboy exercises, and embellished with drawings of spirited horses. 

The Pharaohs 
and the Exodus 

The Biblical story of the Exodus 
chronicles the Hebrews' escape from 
servitude in Egypt, their 40-year 
sojourn in the wilderness, and their 
eventual arrival in the Promised Land. 
The Hebrews had lived peacefully 
around the Nile Delta for 400 years. 
All this changed, however, in the 13th 
century bc, when Egypt became 
anxious about their growing numbers. 
A new pharaoh, now thought to be 
Seti I, condemned them to hard 
labour. They were to fare no better 
under Ramesses II, who set them to 
work on the construction of his 
temples and the massive new city of 

According to the Bible, God took pity 
on the Hebrews and appeared to one 
of their number, Moses, promising to 
deliver his people from slavery. Ten 
times Moses petitioned Pharaoh to 
free the Hebrews. Ten times the king 

denied them freedom, and after each 
denial Egypt suffered a terrible 
catastrophe. The rivers were said to 
run with blood, until 'the fish that was 
in the river died, and the river stank, 
and the Egyptians could not drink of 
the water'. 

Finally, when all the first-born 
Egyptian children mysteriously died in 
the night, Ramesses took fright and 
expelled the Hebrews. But on hearing 
of their actual flight, he regretted the 
loss of his work-force, and set out to 
recapture them. With a vast army, he 
caught up with the fugitives by the Sea 
of Reeds (perhaps one of the inland 
lakes between the Mediterranean and 
the Gulf of Suez). Heaven-sent help 
came once more, the waves parting to 
allow the Hebrews to cross, but 
closing behind them to engulf their 

Needless to say, none of these 
events are corroborated by ancient 
Egyptian records since the Exodus was 
a minor affair in Egyptian annals. 

*Vw- - ,-** 


Ramesses II 153 

bout a doubt Ramesses' 
nonument is the huge temple 
r om the natural sandstone rock 
- :r. nel, far to the south in 
Four great seated figures of the 
r.k :he entrance in two pairs. So 
is the overburden of sand around 
ance that for several years after 
. very by Burckhardt in 1813 it 
: Known whether the figures 
.n tact seated or standing. 
imi Belzoni was the first European 
:rr the temple on 1 August 1817. 

The magnificent black granite 
i of Ramesses II that stands in the 
—cum is considered to be the 
.: rinest extant portrait of the king, 
r the Turin seated statue (p. 146). 
:ng nearby is the colossal fallen statue 
• a 1000 tons that inspired Shelley's 
rtal sonnet with its lines: 

. ; is Ozymandias, King of Kings: 
:: my works, ye mighty, and despairV 

Further campaigns were undertaken against the Hittites in subse- 
quent years, but eventually Ramesses realized that he could not hold 
the northern reaches of Syria, just as his opponents could not control 
the south. Internal troubles and a growing Assyrian menace to the east 
made the new Hittite king, Hattusilis III, realize that there was no point 
in the almost annual cat-and-mouse game with Egypt. He proposed a 
peace treaty. The outcome was terms agreed in Year 21 (1259), essen- 
tially of mutual non-aggression and support. 

The treaty survives carved on the walls of Karnak and the 
Ramesseum and, by one of those coincidences of fate, in the Hittite ver- 
sion on clay tablets from Hattusas, the Hittite capital. (Perhaps not sur- 
prisingly, the two accounts do not quite agree. The Hittite sources say, 
for example, that it was Ramesses who sued for peace.) Letters and gifts 
were exchanged between the two royal families. An affable situation 
obtained, so much so that in 1246 Hattusilis III proposed an even closer 
link by offering one of his younger daughters to Ramesses as wife,- her 
Egyptian name was Maathorneferure. There was a slight contretemps 
over the size of the dowry to accompany the princess, with Ramesses 
incongruously pleading poverty and asking for more, but it was resolved 
and she joined the court. A second princess, HattusiHYs oldest daugh- 
ter, was offered some seven years later in 1239 and came to Egypt to join 
her sister. This new liaison was celebrated on marriage stele at Karnak, 
Elephantine, Abu Simbel and Amara West. 

Ramesses the builder 

As a monument builder Ramesses II stands pre-eminent amongst the 
pharaohs of Egypt. Although Khufu had created the Great Pyramid, 
Ramesses / hand lay over the whole land. True, he thought nothing of 
adding his name to other kings' monuments and statues right back to 
the Middle Kingdom, so that nowadays the majority of cartouches seen 
on almost any monument proclaim his throne name - User-maat-re 
('the Justice of Re is strong 7 ). Yet his genuine building achievements are 
on a Herculean scale. He added to the great temples at Karnak and 
Luxor, completed his father Seti's mortuary temple at Gourna (Thebes) 
and also his Abydos temple, and built his own temple nearby at Abydos. 
On the west bank at Thebes he constructed a giant mortuary temple, 
the Ramesseum. Inscriptions in the sandstone quarries at Gebel el- 
Silsila record at least 3000 workmen employed there cutting stone for 
the Ramesseum alone. Other major mortuary temples rose in Nubia at 
Beit el-Wali, Gerf Hussein, Wadi es Sebua, Derr and even as far south as 

Ramesses 7 greatest building feat must be counted not one of these, 
but the carving out of the mountainside of the two temples at Abu 
Simbel in Nubia. The grandeur of the larger, the Great Temple, is over- 
whelming, fronted as it is by four colossal 60-ft (18-m) high seated fig- 
ures of the king that flank the entrance in two pairs. It is strange to 
reflect that whilst the smaller temple, dedicated to Hathor and 



[Above] The four seated colossi fronting 
the Great Temple at Abu Simbel. 

Earth and rubble 
of concrete infill 

New concrete dome 

Stone support 
for facade 

Ramesses' favourite queen Nefertari, has lain open for centuries. I 
Great Temple was only rediscovered in 1813 by the Swiss explorer [< 
Louis Burckhardt and first entered by Giovanni Belzoni on 1 Augi 
1817. A miracle of ancient engineering, its orientation was so exact - 
the rising sun at the equinox on 22 February and 22 October floo 
directly through the great entrance to illuminate three of the four ^ 
carved seated in the sanctuary over 200 ft (60 m) inside the mount, 
(the fourth of the seated gods, Ptah, does not become illuminated ; 
appropriately, he is a god associated with the u: 

Nefertari was probably present at the d. 
tion of the two Abu Simbel temples in \ 
24 (1256/55) and apparently died the I 
lowing year, so at least she saw hers 
associated with her husb 

[Left] An isometric cross--, 
shows the Great Temple at 
Simbel in its modern setting 
an engineering dome K 
after being removed piec< 
and rebuilt at a higher 
safe from the rising 
of the Nile in the 

Reconstructed rock face 

Ramesses II 155 



m fit in 


e fol- 


tg with 

hind it 

Ramesses II: 

Main Events 


Ramesses II, sole 



1st Syrian campaign 

" z 

2nd Syrian campaign; 

battle of Kadesh 


Two temples begun at 

Abu Simbel 


Raid against Libya 


3rd Syrian campaign 


4th Syrian campaign 


5th Syrian campaign 


Exodus of the Jews 


Crisis with Hittites 


Revolt crushed 


Treaty with Hittites 


Queen Mother Tuya dies 


Abu Simbel temples 


r 5 

Queen Nefertari dies; 

Istnofret becomes Chief 



1st jubilee festival 


? Earthquake at Abu Simbel 


2nd Jubilee festival 


Queen Istnofret dies; 1st 

Hittite princess becomes 



3rd Jubilee festival 


4th Jubilee festival 


5th Jubilee festival 


2nd Hittite princess 

becomes queen 


Raid into Nubia 


6th Jubilee festival 


7th Jubilee festival 


Prince Khaemwaset 

made heir 


8th Jubilee festival 


9th Jubilee festival 


Prince Khaemwasei dies; 

Prince Merneptah 

becomes heir 


10th Jubilee festival 


11th Jubilee festival 


12th Jubilee festival 


13th Jubilee festival 


14th Jubilee festival 


Death of Ramesses II; 

Merneptah becomes 


in his greatest work and lived to see the dedication of her temple. 

One of Ramesses' preoccupations in all this building work was obvi- 
ously the payment for it, and that meant gold. The precious metal is 
represented as being brought as 'tribute' in many Theban nobles 7 tombs 
of the 18th and 19th Dynasties, and a papyrus in the Turin Museum 
from the reign of Seti I actually shows a map of goldmines in the eastern 

A lot of the wealth was also diverted into the costs of building a fine 
new city in the Delta, Piramesse ('Domain of Ramesses 7 ), near modern 
Qantir. Embellished with great obelisks, Piramesse became the wonder 
of the age - though little alas remains today - and it was probably on 
such building works that the Hebrews were employed in the 'land of 
Goshen 7 . The Exodus apparently took place from this area in about 
1263-62, Year 17: 'And it came to pass at the end of four hundred and 
thirty years . . . that all the hosts of the Lord went out from the Land of 
Egypt' (Exodus 12:41). Although a traumatic experience for the Jews and 
a major element in Judaism, it was not recognized as such in Egypt and 
the only known reference to Israel in the Egyptian record occurs under 
Merneptah (p. 157). 

Death and burial 

In Year 67 (1212 bc) Ramesses II, perhaps 92 years of age, was called to 
the west to join the gods. His tomb had long been prepared in the Valley 
of the Kings (KV 7), and was as large, if not larger in area, than that of 
his father Seti I, although not so well decorated. Now it is much dam- 
aged and virtually inaccessible. The splendour of the contents of the 
tomb must have been incredible, if only by comparison with that of the 
tomb of the short-lived Tutankhamun. Few items, however, survive 
that can be associated with the burial: a wooden statuette of the king 
(British Museum), four pseudo-canopic jars (Louvre), the upper half of a 
hollow-cast, flattened bronze ushabti (Berlin), and two large wooden 
ushabtis (Brooklyn and British Museum). 

The mummy of Ramesses was found in the great cache of royal 
mummies at Deir el-Bahari in 1881 (DB 320). A docket written in hier- 
atic on the coffin in which it lay recorded that the body was moved in 
Year 15 (c. 1054 bc) of Smendes from its previous resting place to the 
tomb of his father, Seti I, whence it was taken to its last secret hiding 
place. In 1976 the mummy was flown to Paris where a great Ramesses II 
exhibition was staged. Deterioration had been noticed on the body and 
the journey was also for Ramesses to receive the best conservation 
treatment available. The mummy was examined by xero-radiography 
which revealed that Ramesses 7 distinctly aquiline nose had retained its 
shape because the ancient embalmers had packed it full of peppercorns 
(other noses on mummies tend to be flattened by the bandaging around 
them). As befitted visiting royalty, although he had been dead for nearly 
3200 years, Ramesses was greeted at the Paris airport by a full 
Presidential Guard of Honour. 

156 The New Kingdom 




? I 



nn-? % 



<=> \ \ y! \\^y- 



□ 83= □ So 


V® ^ 










Seti II 








Queen Twosret 



Upper half of a granite statue or 
Merneptah, Ramesses II' s 13th sc 
eventually succeeded him, from h 
mortuary temple at Thebes. Caii 


Birth name + (epithet) 


Mer-ne-ptah (hetep- 


hermaat) ('Beloved 


of Ptah, Joyous is 

Isisnofret, Takhat 



Also known as 



(?Seti II) 

Throne name 


Ba-en-re Mery- 


netjeru (The Soul 

Tomb KV 8, Valley 

of Re, Beloved of 

of the Kings 

the Gods') 



Ramesses II 


By the time that Merneptah, Ramesses 7 13th son, succeeded h 
lived father he must have been into his sixties. Merneptah 's I 
reign is documented by three great inscriptions: some 80 lines 
in the temple of Amun at Karnak; a large stele with 35 lines rei 
from Athribis in the Delta,- and the great Victory Stele found by 
Petrie in 1896 in Merneptah's ruined mortuary temple at The: 
sisting of 28 lines. All three relate to Merneptah's military c 
and complement each other. For the last years of Ramesses II 





fc> , 

Merneptah 157 

The red granite lid of 

meptah's sarcophagus in his tomb in 

c Valley of the Kings, carved with the 

ure of the king in Osiride form 

tring the nemes headdress and 

ding the royal crook and flail. 





reigned on the Egyptian frontiers and amongst the vassals, but times 
were changing. A 'flash 7 revolt in southern Syria was quickly crushed. 
The Hittite king, now facing attacks on his northern territories and also 
famine through crop failure, invoked the old treaty of support to which 
Merneptah responded by sending grain - once more, as in the Biblical 
story, Egypt was a granary for the starving Near East. 

There was unrest on the western borders with the Libyans who had 
been quietly infiltrating the Delta and in Year 5 (1207 bc) attempted an 
invasion, fermenting revolt in Nubia and in the western oases. Rapid 
mobilization and a heavy pre-emptive strike left the Libyans totally 
vanquished: the Karnak inscription records Merneptah's valour and the 
slaughter, 'Libyans, slain, whose uncircumcised phalli were carried off 
6359' (the Athribis stele records only 6200!). Nubia had risen to support 
the Libyans, but so swift was the destruction of the latter that 
Merneptah could immediately turn south and inflict a crushing blow on 
the rebels. Merneptah, although elderly/had made the point that insur- 
gents could not tamper with Egypt's security. 

Merneptah realized that his time on the throne might be short. He 
rapidly commenced building his mortuary temple on the edge of the 

[Right) Merneptah's great Victory 
stele, which he usurped and stole 
from the mortuary temple of 
Amenhotep III at Thebes. It is 
precisely dated to the third day of the 
third month of the third season, i.e. 
summer 1207 bc. Apart from a long 
list of conquests, its particular 
interest lies in the second from last 
line where the only reference in the 
whole of Egyptian literature to Israel 
[below) occurs: 'Israel is devastated, 
her seed is no more, Palestine has 
become a widow for Egypt/ It was 
this reference that led many scholars 
to identify Merneptah as the pharaoh 
of the Exodus, whereas modern 
opinion now leans towards Ramesses 
II being the pharaoh 'who knew not 
Moses'. Cairo Museum. 

ipl ' u&*s 

158 The New Kingdom 




Birth name + (epithet) 



Tomb KV 15, Valley 


of the Kings 

('Fashioned by 


Amun, Ruler of 



Throne name 

Birth name + (epithet) 

Men-mi-re Setep-en- 

Si-ptah (mer-en- 

re ('Eternal like Re, 

ptah) ('Son of Ptah, 

Chosen by Re') 

Beloved of Ptah') 


Throne name 


Akh-en-re Setep-en- 


re ('Beautiful for 


Re, Chosen by Re') 




?Seti II 



Tomb KV 10, Valley 


of the Kings 



Tomb KV 47, Valley 

of the Kings 



Birth name + (epithet) 

Seti (mer-en-ptah) 


('He of the god 

Birth name + (epithet) 

Seti, Beloved of 

Two-sret (setep-en- 


mut) ('Mighty Lady, 

Also known as 

Chosen of Mut') 

Sethos II 

Also known as 

Throne name 

Twore, Tausert 


Throne names 


Sit-re Mery-amun 

('Powerful are the 

('Daughter of Re, 

Manifestations of 

Beloved of Amun') 

Re, Chosen by Re') 

1st Husband 


Seti II 








Tomb KV 14, Valley 

Takhat II, Twosret, 

of the Kings 





desert at Thebes and his tomb in the Valley of the Kings. Like many 
his predecessors, he was not averse to using earlier buildings as a qua] 
ry. His masons turned to the nearby mortuary temple of Amenhotep I 
now largely disused, and removed much of it, including the large st 
that was turned round to take Merneptah's Victory Hymn. Mernep: 
tomb in the Valley of the Kings (KV 8) lies close to that of his father, 1 
at a slightly higher level, so it has not suffered the effects of flot 
that assailed Ramesses 7 tomb. Fragmentary remains of funerary equi 
ment, including alabaster ushabtis, have been recovered from the t 
but the curious fact is that Merneptah apparently had several sarcop 
gi, each carved in various stones that included alabaster, rose and bh 
granite. One of Merneptah's granite sarcophagi was found reused in \ 
intact tomb of the pharaoh Psusennes (c. 1033 bc), discovered at ~ 
in the Delta (pp. 180-81). 

Merneptah's mummy was not found in the tomb, parts of which D 
have been open from antiquity, neither was it in the great cache of n 
mummies discovered in 1881. His absence led many Biblical scho*. 
underline the fact that he must have been the pharaoh of the E: 
and had perished in the Red Sea ; his tomb was merely a cenotaph - 
the body was not recovered. These arguments were confounded in 1 
when the mummy of Merneptah appeared amongst the 16 bodies f< 
in the royal mummy cache concealed in the tomb of Amenhotep II 
35). There is some evidence that Merneptah's queen, Isisnofret, \\\> 
buried in his tomb rather than in the Valley of the Queens, and th . 
predeceased him, but her body has not been identified. 

From Amenmesses to Queen Twosret 

When Merneptah died in 1202 bc a hiatus occurred in the succl — 
Instead of the Crown Prince Seti-Merneptah - who had been ass 
with his father as ruler - ascending the throne, an unk 
Amenmesses, became king. The explanation for this is a mystery 
has been suggested that, in the unfortunate absence of the 
Prince at the time Merneptah died, a lesser prince, the son of a 1< 
queen (Takhat), seized the initiative. Little is known of Amenrr.. 
apart from a few minor inscriptions and the fact that during his 
four-year reign he began cutting a tomb in the Valley of the Kir. . 
10). The decoration in the tomb was, as usual, unfinished. Possibl 
king's mother, Takhat, and his wife, Baktwerel, were also buried i 
tomb (although it has been suggested that they were the mothc 
wife respectively of Ramesses IX). None of the three bodies has 

The successor to Amenmesses in c. 1199 bc was Seti II, whi 
have been the previously ousted Crown Prince. Certainly he seei 
have exercised a damnatio memoriae on his predecessor's mom. 
and added his own name to earlier ones. Three of his queens are 
Takhat II; Twosret, who was the mother of the eldest son 

From Amenmesses to Queen Twosret 159 






Detail of the head of a life-size 
te seated statue of Seti II found at 
by Belzoni. British Museum. 


apparent, Seti-Merenptah; and Tiaa, who was the 
mother of Ramesses-Siptah. It seems that the heir 

* apparent died before his father Seti II, and the 

* *. . younger son inherited the throne as a minor, taking 
the name of Siptah. The older queen, Twosret, in 
effect ruled in her stepson's name together with the 
Chancellor, the so-called 'kingmaker 7 Bay, who was 
granted the privilege of a small private tomb in the 
Valley of the Kings (KV 13). 

Siptah died in his Year 6 and was buried in the 
upper part of the Valley of the Kings (KV 47) in a 
• tomb that was apparently intended for himself and 
his mother Queen Tiaa. His large red granite sarcoph- 
agus still remains in the unfinished burial hall but his 
body, notable for its deformity of a club foot (possibly 
the result of poliomyelitis when young) was found in 
the cache in the tomb of Amenhotep II (KV 35) in 
1898. Curiously, shortly after the burial the tomb 
was disturbed and his cartouches erased in the 
inscriptions, to be subsequently restored in paint. 
Possibly the restoration was done under the 
Chancellor Bay. 
"' , With Siptah 7 s death his stepmother Twosret 

declared herself queen, using the full pharaonic titles 
as Hatshepsut had done some 300 years earlier. Her 
| tomb in the Valley (KV 14) had a chequered history; 
begun under Siptah in Year 2, it was extended by 
Twosret, possibly to receive the burials of herself and her first husband 
Seti II, but later usurped by Setnakhte, first king of the 20th Dynasty. A 
small cache of rather second-rate gold jewellery found in 1908 in a small 
pit tomb (KV 56) may have belonged to an infant daughter of Twosret 
and Seti II. 

A group of jewellery 
found in a pit tomb in the 
Valley of the Kings 
(KV 56), comprising a 
gold circlet with petals 
[right), five of which are 
inscribed with the names 
of Seti II and Queen 
Twosret; a necklace of 
gold filigree buds [left); 
and two pairs of earrings 
[left and right), the pair at 
the left with cartouches 
of Seti II. The quality of 
the goldwork is poor, 
which suggests that this 
parure was probably 
provided for an infant 
daughter of the king and 
queen. Cairo Museum. 

160 The New Kingdom 







U ill 

--9 A 

-H- il 




Userkhaure Setepenre 


Ramesses III 

Usermaatre Meryamun 


A detail from the Great Harris Papyrus 
shows Ramesses III in full court dress 
and regalia wearing the White Crown. 
British Museum. 


Birth name + {epithet) 

the Manifestations 

Set-nakhte (merer- 

of Re, Chosen by 



('Victorious is Set, 


Beloved of Amun- 




Also known as 

Ramesses III 




Tomb KV 14, Valley 

Throne name 

of the Kings 

User-khau-re Setep- 


en-re ('Powerful are 



Birth name + {epithet) 


Ra-messes (heqa- 

Isis, Titi, Tiy etc. 

iunu) ('Re has 


Fashioned Him, 


Ruler of Heliopolis') 


Also known as 




Throne name 

Ramesses IV, V, & 

User-maat-re Mery- 


amun ('Powerful is 


the Justice of Re, 


Beloved of Amun') 



Tomb KV 11, Valley 


of the Kings 


The 19th Dynasty had ended with a degree of confusion, not least 
the presence of Twosret as queen regnant, only the fourth in Eg 
history to that date. Whether there was a short period of anarchy 
haps of only a few months, between the end of Twosret's sole reigri 
the accession of her successor Setnakhte is debatable. How Setna 
came to the throne, or indeed who he was, is uncertain. The best si 
for the beginning of the 20th Dynasty comes from about 65 years 1 
in the account in the Great Harris Papyrus (see box opposite). The 
four 'pages' describe how Setnakhte arose and put down the rebel! 
fermented by Asiatics: he relieved besieged cities, brought back : 
who had gone into hiding, and reopened the temples and restored 

Setnakhte reigned for only about three years. His son - the 
Ramesses III - by his wife Queen Tiy-merenese was apparently ass 
ed with him in a short co-regency. Setnakhte was buried with full i 
honours, described in the papyrus: 'he was rowed in his king's I 
upon the river [i.e. crossed the Nile to the west bank], and rested u 
eternal house west of Thebes'. Setnakhte actually usurped and enh 












l- : 

Ramesses III 161 



The Great Harris 

5 s the longest known papyrus 
n ancient Egypt. Measuring 133 ft 
JO. 5 m), it consists of 117 columns, 
»ach of 12 or 13 lines, and is dated 
:o the day that Ramesses 111 died in 
1151. Found with four other papyri in 
.ate tomb at Deir el-Medina in 
it takes its name from a Mr A. 
-arris of Alexandria who bought it. 
r s compiled by Ramesses iv, 
sting all the benefactions his father, 
3sses III, had made to the gods 
lg his long reign. The intention 
*as for it to be buried with 
amesses III, extolling his virtues to 

_ : d s wh i 1st at the same time 
. DKing benefactions on his son. 
The bulk of the Great Harris 
5 apyrus is a social document that 
ts the annual temple festivals 
: Ramesses' gifts to them over 
e 31 years of his reign. A short 
••/oduction tells that the papyrus will 
the king's good works, then it 
= into six main sections of which 
•irst three -being concerned with 
e great shrines of Amun at Thebes, 
e at Heliopolis and Ptah at 

phis - take up most space. A 
.. th section deals with other 
r^ples and the fifth is a summary of 

're temples in Egypt (with some 
■ ~or omissions that obviously did 
oot meet the 'copy' deadline). The 
: nal. sixth, historical section 
oncerns the beginning of the 
>ty and the campaigns of 
amesses III. Royal gifts, income 
:: expenditure are all carefully 
. nented - in fact the Great Harris 
3 apyrus is in reality a 'balance sheet' 
r Egypt during the reign of 
amesses 111 and, as such, is a 
■nique and invaluable document. It 
must, at some time, have been part 
Df the official archives of the temple 
:* Medinet Habu, but how it got there 
'om the king's tomb in the Valley of 
tne Kings (KV 11), and then into the 
,-nall private tomb where it was 
•d. is a mystery. 

Queen Twosret's tomb (KV 14), which had already been taken over from 
Seti II. He had begun to excavate another tomb (KV 11), but this had 
intruded upon the tomb of Am enm esses (KV 10) and been abandoned; 
subsequently it was to be realigned and used by his son, Ramesses III. 
Setnakhte's coffin was found in the royal cache in Amenhotep II's tomb 
(KV 35, p. 103) in 1898, and it is possible that his may be the unwrapped 
and unidentified body found on a wooden boat in the tomb. 

Ramesses III 

Ramesses III was the last of the great pharaohs on the throne of Egypt. 
He ruled at a time when the outside world of the Mediterranean was in 
turmoil - it saw the Trojan War, the fall of Mycenae and a great surge of 
displaced people seeking new homes, a tidal wave that was to break 
upon the shores of Egypt during his reign. 

The first four years of Ramesses 7 reign seem to have been quiet ones. 
He no doubt sought to consolidate his position and continued his father 
Setnakhte's efforts to stabilize the country. There were no problems in 
the south, in Nubia, since that had now more or less achieved the status 
of a subdued colony. The first sign of trouble came in Year 5 with an 
attack from the west. The Libyans, coupled with two other tribes, the 
Meshwesh and the Seped, endeavoured to force their way out of their 
deserts into the fertile lands of the western Delta. The Egyptian army 
was more than a match for them and they were annihilated, those not 
slain becoming slaves in Egypt. For a while the states bordering Egypt 
had learnt their lesson, not to meddle with pharaoh. 

In Year 8 the bubbling cauldron of the Middle East boiled over, no 
doubt exacerbated by several bad harvest years as well as the general 
upset of nomads trying to settle. As the Great Harris Papyrus records: 
'The foreign countries plotted on their islands, and the people were dis- 
lodged and scattered by battle all at one time and no land could stand 
before their arms/ This was not a small skirmish but a major folk 
movement by people sufficiently desperate and well armed to be able to 
destroy Egypt's age-old enemy, the Hittite empire. This mass of people 
was in fact a confederation of which the names are listed, the Peleset 
(i.e. Philistines), Tjeker (possibly connected with the Teucri of the 
Troad), Shekelesh (possibly Sikels from Sicily), Weshesh (of uncertain 
origin), and the Denyen or Dardany (who could be the Danaoi of 
Homer's Iliad). Together, the confederation made up the 'Sea Peoples'. 

Ramesses III and the Sea Peoples 

The written and graphically illustrated account of Ramesses' fight 
against the Sea Peoples is recorded on the walls of his great and remark- 
ably well-preserved mortuary temple at Medinet Habu. The written 
account occurs on the outer wall of the Second Pylon, north side; it is 
the longest hieroglyphic inscription known. The graphic representa- 
tions are carved on the outer north wall of the temple. 

[Above] The mortuary temple of 
Ramesses III at Medinet Habu, the 
'Mansion of Millions of Years of King 
Ramesses III, "United with Eternity in 
the Estate of Amon"', is the best 
preserved of the series of such temples 
on the west bank at Thebes. 

[Below] The entrance gateway to 
Ramesses Ill's mortuary temple copies a 
Syrian migdol or fortified gateway. 

Having halted for a while in Syria, the Sea Peoples resume 
march overland to attack Egypt. This was not simply an act of 
was with intent to force their way into Egypt and settle - they 
nation on the move, complete with women and children and f 
possessions piled high on ox-carts. At sea, their fleet of no mean p 
tions kept station with the march. Ramesses realized that rapid 
ment was called for ; despatches were sent to the eastern frontier 
to stand firm at all costs until the main Egyptian army could be b 
up. The clash came at the border and the slaughter of the invader- 
great, as the reliefs depict. Pharaoh was everywhere in his charic 
according to the canon of Egyptian art, represented at far greater 
than any of the other participants. 

Although the land invasion had been scattered, there was sti 
threat from the sea. The Sea Peoples' fleet made for the mouth 
the eastern arms of the Nile, to be met there by the Egyptian flee: 
transpired is rather interesting because the Egyptians had never 
themselves on being great sailors. They hated the sea, wdj 
'Great Green', as they called the Mediterranean, but here the> 
fighting what was virtually a landlocked battle. Ramesses had r, 
archers lining the shore who poured volley after volley into the ( 
ships as soon as they were within range. Egyptian 'marine' ar. 
shown calmly standing on the decks firing in unison, the enerm 
being hauled alongside with grappling hooks. The enemy de< 
before the onslaught in contorted postures and Ramesses return! 
rious, by the grace of Amun, the god of Thebes. This was 
beginning of the build up of the fabulous wealth of the priesth 
Amun that was to have such disastrous consequences in I 



Ramesses III 163 


nc ol 

k- ' 
s are 
1 tall 
f the 
od of 


: J tfbove) Details of foreign 
rs in the reliefs at Medinet Habu. 
lilistine, above, is easily 
izable by his very distinct 

Although no follow-up campaign to pursue the Sea Peoples back into 
the Levant is recorded in the Great Harris Papyrus, or on the walls of 
Medinet Habu, such a move would have been reasonable. It is interest- 
ing to note that the great entrance gateway to the temple is actually 
modelled on a Syrian fortified tower, a migdol, such as are clearly seen 
on the reliefs of Seti I and Ramesses II at Karnak. Ramesses Ill's build- 
ing was merely an ornament, an ancient Egyptian 'folly 7 in a way, but 
he did have a use for it because on the walls of some of the upper rooms 
are scenes of him dallying with the ladies of his harem. 

The further campaigns of Ramesses III 

For three years Egypt was quiet. Then came trouble on the western bor- 
ders, again with the Libyans, allied with the Meshwesh and five other 
tribes. There had been a slight infiltration by immigrants into the area 
west of the Canopic arm of the Nile for some years, but in Year 1 1 it 
came to a head with an invasion. The frontier forts took the brunt of it 
as the invaders attempted to overrun the Delta. Once more Ramesses 
crushed all opposition. The attackers left over 2000 dead, and their cat- 
tle and possessions were rich booty for the treasury of Amun. The cam- 
paign details occur on the inner wall, north side, of the First Pylon at 
Medinet Habu. At one point army scribes come before pharaoh with a 
tally of the enemy dead, represented by a pile of severed right hands, 
and the number above them, 175. Ramesses seems to have questioned 
the figure. The scribes had to recheck. The next register explains how 
they did it - by cutting off the phalluses of the uncircumcised enemy, 
shown piled on the ground with the number above them, 175. The 
numbers tallied, the accountants are always right! 

Other campaigns are mentioned in the inscriptions in the mortuary 
temple at Medinet Habu. Some of the scenes, however, are suspect. 

On the outer north wall of 
rdmet Habu, Ramesses Ill's battle 
th the Sea Peoples is carved in graphic 

.'.. Here, an Egyptian warship cuts 

.igb the Philistine enemy. 

164 The New Kingdom 

[Above] Ramesses III introduces his 
young son, Amenhirkhopshef, to the 
gods in the boy's tomb (QV 55). 

[Below] Belzoni retrieved the great 
granite lid of Ramesses Ill's sarcophagus 
from the king's tomb in 1815, which he 
presented to the Fitzwilliam Museum, 
Cambridge, in 1823 (Henry Salt collect- 
ed the sarcophagus box and sold it to the 
Louvre, Paris, in 1826). 

— mJm 

Ramesses is depicted in a Nubian campaign which finds no other men- 
tion and would be highly unlikely in view of the subordination of that 
area. Other scenes show the king invading territories to the north, going 
into the country of the Amurru, Khatti and Syrians, none of whor/ 
existed any longer as political entities. These reliefs seem in fact to be 
copies of earlier ones from a building of Ramesses II. Ramesses III is 
merely modelling himself on his illustrious predecessor who, despii- 
their proximity in numerical sequence, was unrelated to him. 

The royal family 

Despite the length of Ramesses 7 reign (31 years and 41 days according 
the Great Harris Papyrus), little is known about the ladies of the cou: 
and the royal children. Ramesses 7 chief queen seems to have be^ 
named Isis, but for some curious reason the cartouches in the Medin. 
Habu temple where the queen's name would normally appear have be^ 
left blank. Possibly Isis was of Asiatic extraction since her mothe: 
name was Habadjilat, a distinctly un-Egyptian name. Queen Isis had h . 
tomb in the Valley of the Queens (QV 51) and was the mother 
Ramesses VI. Ramesses III not only had several wives but also a numh . 
of sons (probably at least ten), many of whom predeceased him - as 
revealed by the number of their tombs in the Valley of the Queer - 
Notable amongst the tombs for their preservation and brightly colour, 
wall paintings are those of Amenhirkhopshef (QV 55) and Khaemwa-. 
(QV 44). Also laid to rest in the Valley are the princes Parahirenerr 
(QV 42) and Sethirkhopshef (QV 43). All four sons held offices unJ: 
their father concerned with the royal horses or chariotry. 

There are several other unnamed tombs of princes and princesses ii 
the area, a number of which appear to date from Ramesses Ill's re:. 
and may belong to some of his other children. One of the larger tomb* 
that of a Queen Titi (QV 52), lacks any proper indication of her re 
status, but an analysis of her titles suggests that she was possibh 
daughter and, subsequently, wife of Ramesses III who outlived him. x 
less than 43 times does her title as 'Mistress of the Two Lands' appe- 
she is called 'Chief Royal Wife' 33 times, 'King's Daughter', 'Kir . 
Beloved Daughter of his Body' and 'His Beloved Daughter' 20 tin: e 
'King's Sister' 4 times but, more importantly, 'King's Mother' 8 times 
her son could possibly be Ramesses IV. The majority of the tombs in : 
Valley of the Queens, including the finest, that of Ramesses IPs qiu 
Nefertari (p. 148), were found by the Italian Egyptologist Erne>: 
Schiaparelli in 1903-4. 

The conspiracy to kill the king 

Another remarkable papyrus from the reign of Ramesses III has a gre<2 
deal of information on the structure and workings of the court, but froi 
an unusual angle. Known as the Harem Conspiracy Papyrus, it exist- 
three portions (of which the largest section, the Judicial Papyrus, is i 
Turin) and concerns the trial of a group who plotted to murder the kin 

Pi ■ 

Ramesses III 165 

ther men- 
on of that 
nrth, going 

: wh< \" 
fact to be 
rsses in is 
K), despite 

xording to 
f the court 
have been 
ie Me dine t 
rhave been 
r mother's 
sis had her 
mother of 
o a number 
him - as is 
Le Queens, 
lv coloured 
feces under 

rincesses in 
18 Ill's reign 
irger tombs, 
of her royal 
$ possibly a 
red him. No 
mds' appear; 
iter', 'King's 
20 times; 
-:' 8 times - 
tombs in the 
K E's queen 
gist Ernesto 

II has a great 
.::t, but from 
s, it exists in 
'apyrus, is in 
rder the king. 

The Harem Conspiracy: 

Principal Defendants 

:•* ef defendants in the 
-soiracy trial were all .'personalty. 
yse to the king. The list of their 
~es and former positions reads: 
- Kamen, Chief of the Chamber; 
'-esedsure, Weren, Peluka and 

a Libyan); ail butlers; Pendua, 
:- oe of the harem; Peynok, 
- .-teamen, Kerpes, Khamopet, 
■"-lale, Setimperthoth and 
Deramon, all inspectors of the 
:-em: Pere, overseer of the White 
• -se (the palace); Binemwese, cap- 
n of archers in Nubia, and six 
r5 of the people at the harem 

'low) The mummy of Ramesses III 
is found in the Deir el-Bahari cache of 
al mummies in 1881. It was in quite 
..lent condition: this and the body of 
menhotep II are the only mummies 
nongst the royal males that do not 
any evidence of 'post-mortem', i.e. damage inflicted by the 
»mb robbers, or further deterioration 

.:er later hands. The hiatus that exist- 
. :n antiquity when the royal bodies 
: j moved can be deduced from the 
. : that the damaged lower half of 
.amesses Ill's wooden coffin was found 
in the other cache of royal mummies in 
$98 in Amenhotep II's tomb (KV 35). 
:ro Museum. 

The chief defendant was one of Ramesses' minor queens, Tiy, who 
hoped to see her son, Pentewere, succeed to the throne. Her name 
seems to be correct but that of the prince is a circumlocution, as are the 
names of a number of the other defendants, i.e. they have been given 
fictitious names such as Mesedsure, 'Re hates him', to indicate how 
great was their crime. 

Fortunately for the king the plot was discovered and the guilty arrest- 
ed. Ramesses III himself commissioned the prosecution; however, since 
he is spoken of later in the papyrus as 'the great god', i.e. dead, he must 
have died during the course of the trial, although not necessarily from 
any effects of the plot. Fourteen officials were called to sit in judgment, 
including seven royal butlers (a high office, cf. Joseph), two treasury 
overseers, two army standard bearers, two scribes and a herald. 
Interestingly, several of their names betray foreign origins. The com- 
mission was given full powers to call whatever evidence was necessary 
and, most unusually, power to deliver and carry out the verdict - even 
the death penalty, which was normally reserved to the king. 

The majority of the conspirators were all personally close to the king, 
especially officials in the harem, which indicates how dangerous the sit- 
uation was. Evidence also emerged of a plot to incite a revolt outside 
the palace to coincide with the intended coup within. Over 40 people 
were implicated and were tried in groups. The record of Queen Tiy's 
trial has not survived, but she would not have been allowed to live. 
Twenty-eight people, including the major ringleaders, were condemned 
in the first prosecution, almost certainly to death. The second prosecu- 
tion condemned six people, who were forced to commit suicide within 
the court itself. In the third prosecution, the four people involved, who 
included the misguided prince Pentewere, were likewise condemned to 
suicide, although not immediately within the court, but presumably in 
their cells. 

The fourth prosecution throws a curious light on the whole case. The 
defendants were not conspirators but three of the judges and two offi- 
cers, who were charged that, after their appointment to the commis- 
sion, they knowingly entertained several of the women conspirators 
and a general named Peyes. One of the judges was found to be innocent, 
the others were condemned to have their ears and nose amputated. 
Pebes, a butler who was one of the convicted judges, committed suicide 
before the sentence could be carried out. 

Ramesses, as mentioned, seems to have died before the verdicts were 
reached. He was buried in a large tomb in the Valley of the Kings (KV 
1 1 ) which has an unusual plan by virtue of its having been taken over 
from an earlier excavation. It is also unusual among the royal tombs in 
having some secular scenes, of which the paintings of the two blind 
male harpists are well known, although now sadly much damaged when 
compared to the early copies made by Sir John Gardner Wilkinson. The 
tomb is often referred to in the literature as 'The Tomb of the Harpers', 
or as 'Bruce's Tomb', after its discoverer, James Bruce, in 1769. 

166 The New Kingdom 






Ramesses IV 


Ramesses V 




]^^^a\I 1145-1141 



Ramesses VI 

J Meryamun 






W L . 



Ramesses VII 





Ramesses VIII 




Ramesses IX 




Ramesses X 



Ramesses XI 



Detail of a dark green schist kneeling 
statue of Ramesses IV, with the king's 
cartouche on his right shoulder. British 

As Ramesses Ill's long reign of 31 years came to an end, so did the grc 
ness of the Egyptian pharaohs. The exact relationships of the silt 
quent kings bearing the name Ramesses is at times obscure; certai 
Ramesses IV, V, VI and VIII appear to have been sons of Ramesses 
(although, as noted, many of his sons had died young), while Rames 
VII seems to have been a son of Ramesses VI. 

Ramesses IV 

Ramesses IV succeeded to the throne in about 1151 bc. The identity 
his mother - probably either Queen Isis or Queen Titi - is still ur. i 
tain, but we do know that he made Tentopet his chief wife (she ] 
buried in Tomb 74 in the Valley of the Queens). The new king's 
task was to bury his father in the Valley of the Kings. Within four 
of the ceremony - as ostraka from the workmen's village of Deir 
Medina record - the customary gifts had arrived there and the workn 
could look forward to a new commission to cut Ramesses IV's tomb 








Ramesses V AND VI 167 




5 XI 

I the great- 
the subse- 
*; certainly 
imesses III 
I Ramesses 

identity of 
still uncer- 
k \she lie? 
king's firs: 
n four days 
Deir el- 
e workmen 

^ tomb. 




- 1 

KV 1, V. of Kings 

-esses ('Re has 

-ed Him') 






e r of Justice 

Mery-amun ('Set is 


his Strength, 


Beloved of Amun') 

;ses III 

Throne name 


User-maat-re Akh- 


en-amun ('Powerful 


is the Justice of Re, 


Helpful to Amun') 



■ .", 2, Valley 

Ramesses III 









Powerful is the 


.-: ce of Re') 


('Appearing in 

esses III 

Thebes, Beloved of 

A fe 

" Amun') 

. .c-tiesed 

Throne name 


Nefer-kha-re Setep- 

- . 9. V. of Kings 

en-re ('Beautiful is 

the Soul of Re, 


Chosen of Re') 



KV 6, V. of Kings 


Amun is his 


S*/ength, God, 


er of Heliopolis') 


e name 

('Amun is his 

^iaat-re Mery- 


amun ('Lord of 

Throne name 

y.'.ce is Re, 


Seloved of Amun') 

('The Justice of Re 



■. "esses III 



KV 18, V. of Kings 


■ * esses VII 




. 3. V. of Kings 

Merer-amun Netjer- 



('Appearing in 


Thebes, Beloved of 


Amun, God, Ruler of 

,nu ('Father of 


Amun, God, Ruler of 

Throne name 

~e iopolis') 

Men-maat-re Setep- 

:ne name 

en-ptah ('The 

_ser-maat-re Mery- 

Justice of Re 

amun Setep-en-re 

Remains, Chosen 

"Powerful is the 

of Ptah') 

Justice of Re, 


Beloved of Amun, 


Chosen of Re') 


r ather 

KV 4, V. of Kings 

Ramesses VI 

Several inscribed stele in the Wadi Hammamat record the activities 
of large expeditions sent by Ramesses IV to obtain good stone for stat- 
ues. One group, of 8368 men, included 2000 soldiers, indicative of the 
amount of policing of the workforce required rather than any defence 
against attack. Expeditions to the turquoise mines at Serabit el-Khadim 
in Sinai were also recorded and as far south in Nubia as the fort at 
Buhen, almost to the Second Cataract. Despite all his endeavours and 
good works for the gods, and his prayer to Osiris - recorded on a stele of 
Year 4 at Abydos - that 'thou shalt give me the great age with a long 
reign [as my predecessor] 7 , Ramesses IV reigned for only six years. 

The tomb of Ramesses IV lies just outside the earlier main group in 
the Eastern Valley of the Kings. It has brightly coloured and detailed 
wall paintings. The large sarcophagus box and its lid, largely intact, still 
stand in the burial hall. As indicated by its low number, KV 2, 
the tomb has been open since antiquity,- Coptic graffiti cover the walls 
near the entrance. Like its companion Ramesside tombs it is unfin- 
ished, but an interesting papyrus preserved in Turin gives its plan. A 
puzzling feature was the series of four narrow box-like lines the archi- 
tect had drawn around the sarcophagus in the burial chamber, the 
'house of gold 7 . Their meaning became abundantly clear when 
Tutankhamun's burial chamber was opened in 1923 and the four great 
gold-covered wooden shrines enclosing his sarcophagus were revealed. 
The mummy of Ramesses IV was found in the royal cache in 
Amenhotep IPs tomb (KV 35) in 1898. 

Ramesses V and VI 

On the evidence of a fragmentary hieratic papyrus in Turin, there 
appears to have been a civil war raging during Ramesses V 7 s short four- 
year reign. Workmen stopped digging his tomb (KV 9) in the Valley as 
they were 'idle from fear of the enemy 7 . An ostrakon records that the 
king was buried in Year 2 of Ramesses VI, which is curious since he 
should normally have been buried no more than 70 days into the new 
reign. Possibly Ramesses V died during the reign of his brother 
Ramesses VI, but does this therefore indicate that they ruled jointly or, 
more probably in light of the civil war, that Ramesses V was usurped by 
his brother and held captive until his death? Ramesses V 7 s mummy was 
found in the tomb of Amenhotep II (KV 35). It has a much larger than 
usual embalmer's incision on its left side for extracting the viscera. 
Lesions on the face suggest that the king suffered from smallpox. 











168 The New Kingdom 

[Right] The shattered black granite sar- 
cophagus of Ramesses VI still lies in his 
burial hall, its huge base tipped on one 
side. This, it has been suggested, could 
not have been done by tomb robbers and 
might therefore be the result of official 
investigations to retrieve treasure, possi- 
bly during the Libyan incursions. The 
carved granite face from the lid was 
taken to the British Museum in the last 

[Below] A granite statue of Ramesses VI 
from Karnak shows him, the last really 
victorious pharaoh, grasping a 
diminutive Libyan foe. Cairo Museum. 

Ramesses VI enjoyed an eight-year reign, longer than either of 
two brothers. It seems that during this time Egypt's long-distance cc i 
tacts and suzerainty over much of the Near East were drastical! 
reduced. The turquoise mines in Sinai were abandoned and the eastei 
frontier pulled back from Palestine to the edge of the eastern Delta. 

Having usurped his predecessor's tomb in the Valley (KV 
Ramesses VI extended it considerably. It culminated in a large pain:, 
and vaulted burial hall. The grievously battered mummy of Ramess-. 
VI was found in KV 35 (Amenhotep II) in 1898. Of all the royal rnun 
mies, it was the one most savagely attacked by the tomb robbers, tr 
head and torso having been hacked to pieces with an axe. The pries 
had piously rewrapped the pieces on a board in an effort to make 
resemble human form. When Elliot Smith examined it in 1905 he fc 
portions of at least two other bodies included within the wrapping:* 
woman's right hand and the mutilated right hand and forearm of ano: 
er man. Where the king's neck should have been were his separate 
hip bone and part of his pelvis. 

The end of the 20th Dynasty, with the last of the pharaohs bear 
the name Ramesses, is very obscure. These kings fall mainly into 
groups, those related to Ramesses III and those to Ramesses VI. Desp. 
the grandeur of the name, none of them had any ancestral connect: 
with their great predecessor, Ramesses II. 

Ramesses VII and VIII 

Ramesses VII succeeded his father, Ramesses VI, in 1133 bc. Little 
known of the seven or so years of his reign. Egypt was economical 

*r Ahh 


*X BtQg !J 

ikn wn 1 

Ramesses IX AND X 169 

re) Although much damaged, the 
mb of Ramesses IX still retains occas- 
>nal fine details representing the king, 
. raising his hands in adoration. 

tlow) One of a pair of massive gold 
ir-plugs found at Abydos. They are 
• - ribed on the back with the name of 

-esses XI, but came from the body of 

..nknown lady of the court. 

unstable and prices soared, as evidenced in the records on papyri and 
ostraka from the workmen's village at Deir el-Medina. Everywhere 
there was unrest. The sites of administration and the capital lay proba- 
bly in the Delta where almost 100 years earlier Ramesses II had founded 
several cities. Although Ramesses VII had a tomb in the Valley of the 
Kings (KV 1), it actually lies well away from the main nucleus in the 
Eastern Valley, beyond the tomb of Ramesses IV. It has apparently been 
open since antiquity and the king's body has not been discovered. 

Ramesses VIII, who probably reigned only for a year, was a son of 
Ramesses III. That he should have succeeded a son of Ramesses VI is 
perhaps indicative of a continuing problem of the rightful succession. 
He has no known tomb or identifiable mummy. 

Ramesses IX and X 

With Ramesses IX Egypt returned to a degree of stability in as much as 
the king enjoyed a reign of some 18 years. There is not much to show 
for it in terms of monuments or records, however. Building work in 
Ramesses' name at the ancient sun centre of Heliopolis in the Delta 
indicates the greater emphasis being placed on Lower Egypt. This was 
probably one of the reasons why the High Priests of Amun at Thebes 

170 The New Kingdom 

[Left] Green schist statue of Ramesse 
IX presenting a shrine with the sacred 
scarab beetle on top of it. Royal Scot: 
Museum, Edinburgh. 

A crude alabaster ushabti of Ramesses 
XI found in the debris of his unused 
tomb in the Valley of the Kings (KV 4). 
Luxor Museum. 

were increasingly able to assert their own power in Upper Egypt an:. 
sow the seeds of the final insurrection to come during the 21st Dynast 

Ramesses IX's tomb (KV 6) is a long one in the tradition of I 
'syringe' tunnels of the later 19th and 20th Dynasties. It lies alrr. 
directly opposite that of Ramesses II in the Valley and it may be 
dered if the choice of location was influenced by the proximity of I 
great king, or whether at this time all traces of the entrance had bet 
obscured. The mummy of Ramesses IX was found in the 1881 cache 
DB 320 but it was laid in the later coffin of the princess Neskh 
(p. 178). 

The reign of Ramesses X has been variously given as ranging : 
three to nine years, such is the lack of detail available for the period. - 
inscription from Aniba in Nubia has his cartouche and presumabl 
dences some continuing small concern with the area; but the . 
influence and possessions of Egypt to the north-west, into Palestine 
Syria, were now things of the past. The king's tomb (KV 18), just be 
Seti I's, has never been properly explored and no mummy has 
attributed to him. 

Ramesses XI 

With the long 28-year reign of Ramesses XI the 20th Dynasty com. 
a close. At least a little more is known about him than his epherra- 
predecessors. Some idea of the internal situation of Egypt is given . 
papyrus set towards the end of the reign - the Tale of Wenamun : 
served in Moscow. Wenamun was sent by Ramesses XI to Byblo> 
secure cedars of Lebanon for the barque of Amun at Thebes. In d 
gone by he would have been an honoured visitor and been given 
ever he required for the Egyptian king. Now, not only was it so un< 

Ramesses XI 171 

The Great Tomb 

It was in the reign of Ramesses IX 
that the first of a series of scandals 
oroke, when it was revealed that the 
:ombs in the Valley of the Kings were 
oeing plundered. The robberies 
mainly took place in Year 16 of the 
eign, although there had been an 
earlier incident before Year 9, 
r ol lowed by an attack on KV 9 where 
Ramesses VI had only recently been 
buried. The affair in Year 16 largely 
came to light because of intense 
ivalry between the mayor of Thebes, 
Paser, and the mayor of western 
Thebes, Paweraa, who was 
"esponsible for the cemeteries. 
Reports of the robberies were made 
:o the vizier, Khaemwaset, who 
ordered a commission to investigate allegations. Of the ten tombs that 
,vere checked, only that of 
Amenhotep I was said to have been 
intact. Of the remainder, some had 
oeen partly robbed whilst others had 
oeen completely despoiled. The 

erbatim accounts of the trials of 
several of the culprits have survived 
:n over a dozen papyri, known as the 
Tomb Robbing Papyri', which are 
~ow scattered in various museums. 
One confession by a stonemason, 
Amun-pnufer, recorded on the 22nd 

ay of the tnird month of winter in 

ear 16 of Ramesses IX (c. 1110 
bc), related in detail how the tomb of 

ie 17th Dynasty king Sobekemsaf 
and his queen Nubkhas had been 
totally pillaged, even to the extent of 
setting fire to their coffins. The 
stonemason actually details the 
extent of the spoils from the two 
oodies, amounting to '160 deben of 
gold', which is about 32 lb (14.5 kg). 
Compare this with the items from 
^utankhamun's tomb, where the gold 
-nask alone weighs 22 3 / 2 lb (10.23 kg) 
and the inner gold coffin nearly 
243 lb (110.4 kg). 

to travel that he was robbed on his way to Byblos, but Egypt's stock had 
fallen so low in the Near East that Wenamun had to pay the princes of 
Byblos for the wood, and he had lost the payment in the robbery. It is a 
tale of vicissitudes that reflects the instability of Egypt. 

The office of Viceroy of Kush, and hence an interest in Nubia, still 
existed since a letter to the Viceroy, Panehesy (in Turin), of Year 17 
exhorts him to chase up a laggard royal butler who had gone to collect 
suitable materials for a shrine. Civil war now raged on and off in the 
Theban region with the king ruling from the north at his capital, 
Piramesse, whilst the High Priests of Amun held the south of the coun- 
try. Amenhotep, High Priest of Amun, appears to have over-reached 
himself, however, since he disappears before Year 12 and Panehesy 
established himself at Thebes, acting for the king. Some time between 
Years 12 and 19 Herihor appeared on the scene as High Priest of Amun, 
having risen through army ranks rather than priestly ones it seems. By 
Year 19 Panehesy had disappeared. Herihor claimed Panehesy's titles as 
Viceroy of Kush and other high-ranking offices, and he appears to have 
taken over the supreme office of vizier, leaving him in a position of 
unassailable power in the south. 

The major monument confirming -the might of Herihor is the temple 
of Khonsu, the moon-god son of Amun, which lies just within the 
southern temenos wall of the Karnak complex. Reliefs here depict 
Herihor at the same scale as the king, although not in the same scenes, 
and in the forecourt Herihor's name and titles appear in the royal car- 
touche. The implications are obvious. It seems that there might have 
been as much as a six-year overlap in the reigns of Ramesses XI and 
Herihor, each ruling in their own northern and southern domain respec- 
tively, and with Herihor dying before Ramesses XL The story is not so 
much one of blatant usurpation as of a tacit recognition by each of the 
other's sphere of influence. The documents certainly recognize this 
with dual dating, where Year 2 of Herihor is equated with Year 25 of 

Ramesses XI had a tomb excavated in the Valley of the Kings (KV 4), 
just outside the main eastern group and a little further up a narrow wadi 
beyond the tomb of Amenhotep Ill's parents-in-law, Yuya and Tuya. 
Although the tomb has been open since antiquity, it was only cleared 
scientifically in 1980 on behalf of the Brooklyn Museum. A curious 
story emerged. Apparently, Ramesses XI had not been buried in the 
tomb and it was, as usual, unfinished. However, from the many frag- 
ments of material relating to earlier royal burials found in the debris, it 
appears that after the tomb was abandoned it became a workshop where 
some of the royal mummies in process of being transferred to other hid- 
ing places (i.e. KV 35 and DB 320, p. 103) were stripped of any valuables 
that could be used to bolster the country's failing economy; even gold 
leaf was adzed off coffins such as that of Tuthmosis III. Ramesses XPs 
mummy has not been found and may well yet be located in a third 
cache, along with other hissing persons'. 





(Libyan Anarchy) 

(at Leontopolis) 




Sheshonq IV 



If 30 





r 3i 



THIRD I^Rv'^^v^: ;•;. >'HiJ;T; BB^NS 


4* x 



■'.?;■:■:■•■'■!.:■: r . .■>■' : > :■ . 






vBmSB -:ir 










Two thousand years after its inception, Egyptian civilization 
began to slide downhill after achieving the giddy heights of 
the Old, Middle and New Kingdoms. No longer was Egypt, in the 
eyes of the ancient world, an isolated Shangri La or Land of the 
Lotus Eaters; no longer were her pharaohs the god-kings manifest 
on earth as in better time^. Economically, around 1000 BC, the 
country was virtually bankrupt. Outside influences became 
more evident as other ancient civilizations, Assyrians and 

nt of 
Egypt being ruled in the 25th Dynasty by Nubians or Rushites 
from, the once despised lands south of Elephantine Lit Je could 
be done about it - tne ult the 


at the c on c" A in the c He at least, in 

founding A ,'pt fully into the tual 

c now omnij irare^n world. 








T n 




- ! DYN- STV 2b 


I iDYN. 29 

DYN 3* ' 



600 550 500 

: i 


DYN.. 28 1 


1 DYN 



174 The Third Intermediate Period 

HIGH PRIESTS (at Thebes) 

D h^ 3 

/WW\ ] /vWVA 




DYNASTY 21 (at Tanis) 






i^ — \ 


/VVW\ £□ 

Herihor (siamun) 

Hemnet j ert epy enamun 



Pinedj em I 






no cartouche 

Smendes I 

Hedjkheperre Setepenre y ® T w 






1043-1039 (®TW^ 

Psusennes I 
niut I) 

Akheperre Setepenre 


Usermaatre Meryamun 





Smendes II 


Pinedj em II 




Psusennes 'III 


Osorkon the 

Aakheperre Setepen: 





Psusennes II 
niut II) 


- Jttawq 


- iame 



. DY ?vAGT v :> , 


..,; oym^ x f2':^}M::y ; 



// / 





Herihor to Psusennes II 175 




5 'IIP 






Deir el-Bahari 

Birth name + {epithet) 


Her-i-hor (Si-amun) 

('Horus Protects 


Me, Son of Amun') 

Birth name 

Throne name 



('Lasting is the 

amun ('The First 

Manifestation of 

Prophet [High 


Priest] of Amun') 

Also known as 




Throne name 


H e m-n etj e r-te py-e n- 


amun (The First 

Prophet of Amun') 



Birth name 






Known as 

Smendes (Greek) 



Birth name + (epithet) 


Pi-nedjem (mery- 

amun) ('He who 


belongs to the 

Birth name 

Pleasant One 

Pi-nedjem ('He who 

[Horus or Ptah], 

belongs to the 

Beloved of Amun') 

Pleasant One 

Also known as 

[Horus or Ptah]') 

Pinudjem 1 

Also known as 

Throne name 

Pinudjem II 


Throne name 



(The Soul of Re 


appears, Chosen of 

(The Soul of Re 


appears, Chosen of 



Henuttawy 1 



Henuttawy II 



Mummy in DB 320, 

DB 320, Deir el- 

Deir el-Bahari 

Bahari (Thebes) 




Known as 

Birth name 

Psusennes (Greek) 



Also known as 




Mummy in DB 320, 

Detail from the joint Book of the Dead 
of Herihor and Queen Nodjmet. They 
both make obeisance towards offerings 
and a Weighing of the Heart scene, and 
Osiris seated beyond. Removed from the 
Deir el-Bahari royal cache before 1881. 
British Museum. 

The steadily increasing power of the priesthood of Amun at Thebes had 
come to a head under Ramesses XL Homer extolled the wealth of 
Thebes in the Iliad, Book 9: 'in Egyptian Thebes the heaps of precious 
ingots gleam, the hundred-gated Thebes'. The Amun priesthood owned 
two-thirds of all temple land in Egypt, 90 per cent of all ships, 80 per 
cent of all factories, and much else. Their grip on the state's economy 
was paramount. It was therefore merely a short step for Herihor, as 
mentioned earlier (p. 171), to enforce his supremacy over the last of the 
Ramessides and create a ruling class of the High Priests of Amun at 

Herihor ruled alongside Ramesses XI for some six years (1080-1074), 
and he died about five years before that king. Herihor's antecedents are 
unknown. He had acquired the high title of Viceroy of Kush and, ulti- 
mately, the office of vizier in addition to his priestly functions. His 
wife, Nodjmet, may have been a sister of Ramesses XI, which helps to 
explain Herihor's preference. His major building work is at the temple 
of Khonsu on the south side in the temple complex of Amun at Thebes, 
where he built the forecourt and the pylons (p. 171), but otherwise the 
records of him are the pious restorations written on some of the coffins 
and dockets on the mummies from the royal cache (DB 320). The 
mummy of Herihor's wife, Nodjmet, was found amongst those in the 
royal cache in 1881 but their joint funerary papyrus, a magnificent illus- 
trated copy of the Book of the Dead, had come on to the antiquities 
market some years before the formal discovery. A linen docket on the 

co-regency^ ^ <^%/ o*°V^ 4^ 










1 76 The Third Intermediate Period 

Detail of a relief of Herihor, his name in 
a cartouche; from a pillar in the temple 
of Khonsu at Karnak. 

mummy showed that the queen had been embalmed in or after Year '. 
of the Tanite king Smendes I (c. 1069: p. 178), indicating that she out- 
lived her husband by some five years. She appears to have been hiddt 
in another cache of mummies before being transferred to her last restir. - 
place. Husband and wife were not buried together despite having a joint 
funerary papyrus. In fact, there is no trace of Herihor's burial apart from 
this papyrus, no ushabtis, canopic jars, or fragments of funerary furni- 
ture. There is good reason to believe, from rock-scratched graffiti, th. 
Herihor's tomb may still await discovery in the Theban hills. 

Herihor's short-lived successor as High Priest of Amun and de fact 
pharaoh was Piankh, who may have been Herihor's son-in-law. There 
are records of Piankh fighting some rebels late in the reign of Rames- : 
XI, but both he and Ramesses appear to have died about the same time 
in 1070. 

Piankh was succeeded by his son, Pined j em I, who is identified a 
such many times on the restoration dockets on the royal mummies 
Pinedjem, although his name later appears in a royal cartouche, did n 
give himself regnal years (nor had Herihor), but instead on the dock 
used those of Smendes I, who ruled in the Delta until 1043. Both c 
existed in tranquillity, Pinedjem's sphere of influence being centred o 
Thebes but also extending south as far as Aswan and north to el-Hib. 
just south of the Faiyum. 

In the temple of Amun at Karnak, Pinedjem appears on the outer :.. 
and entrance of the pylon beyond the first court and his name is 
number of scattered blocks. His major usurpation was to add his nan' 
to the colossal standing statue of Ramesses II with a diminutive Quec: 
Nefertari at his knees in the first court of the temple of Amun at Karn. 
(p. 149). 

Relationships between the ruling families of the north and s< 
were cemented in the age-old tradition of marriages. Pinedjem mam 
Henuttawy (I), a daughter of Ramesses XI, by whom he had several so: 

Detail from the jointly owned Book of 
the Dead of Herihor and Queen 
Nodjmet showing Herihor seated and 
playing a board game ; senet. British 

it LIJ 

, : ■":- , $ 


lr ibe Pnna 

Herihor to Psusennes II 177 

Wooden ushabti box and ushabtis of 
Pinedjem I. It was the appearance of 
these distinctive 'Deir el-Bahari blue' 
ishabtis in the art market in the 1870s 
at alerted Sir Gaston Maspero to the 
fact that a major find had been made 
and was being plundered by the fellahin. 
Cairo Museum. 

and daughters. One son became Psusennes I, the third king in the 
dynasty at Tanis (p. 180), whilst two other sons, Masaherta and 
Menkheperre, became successive High Priests of Amun. Their sister, 
Maatkare, was the 'Divine Adoratrice': God's Wife and chief of the 
priestesses of Amun (cf. p. 192). 

Pinedjem's mummy and a large number of his bright blue faience 
ushabti figures from six ushabti boxes were found in the royal cache at 
Deir el-Bahari (DB 320). Like the mummy of Nodjmet, Pinedjem seems 

xamples of blue faience royal ushabti 
".cures from the Deir el-Bahari cache. 
tear right) Queen Henuttawy I (wife of 
.nedjem I; [centre] Pinedjem II; [far 
the Princess Nesitanebashru, 
chter of Pinedjem II. Near right 
rrlin Museum; others, private 

1 78 The Third Intermediate Period 



Throne name 

Birth name + {epithet) 

User-maat-re Mery- 


amun Setep-en- 

(mery-amun) ('He of 

amun (The Justice 

the Ram, Lord of 

of Re is Powerful, 

Mendes, Beloved of 

Beloved of Amun, 


Chosen of Amun') 

Also known as 


Smendes (Greek) 


Throne name 



Setep-en-re ('Bright 


is the Manifestation 

Birth name 

of Re, Chosen of 



Also known as 




Throne name 

Aa-kheper-re Setep- 


en-re ('Great is the 

Birth name 

Soul of Re, Chosen 


of Re') 

('Amun is King') 


Throne name 



('Beautiful is the 


Soul of Re') 

Birth name 


Si-amun ('Son of 



Also known as 



'Birth name + {epithet) 

Throne name 



(mery-amun) ('The 


Star that appears in 

('Like a God is the 

the City [Thebes], 

Manifestation of 

Beloved of Amun') 

Re, Chosen of 

Also known as 


Psusennes 1 




Throne name 

A-kheper-re Setep- 


en-amun ('Great are 

Birth name + {epithet) 

the Manifestations 


of Re, Chosen of 

(mery-amun) (The 


Star that appears in 


the City [Thebes], 


Beloved of Amun') 


Also known as 


Psusennes II 



Throne name 

Birth name 



('Image of the 

('Amun in the Opet 

Transformations of 



Also known as 





to have been moved to this cache from a previous one. He apparently 
had intentions of taking over the unfinished tomb of Ramesses XI (K 
4) but never did so (p. 171). Where he or any of the other priestly, quasi- 
royal bodies found in the 1881 cache were originally buried - whether in 
individual tombs or a large, family tomb - is unknown. 

After the two successive High Priests of Amun, Masaherta (1054- 
1046) and Menkheperre (1045-992), came the latter's son Smendes II 
(992-990) and then Pinedjem II, Menkheperre' s son by his wife 
Isiemkheb, daughter of Psusennes I, ruler in the Delta. Pinedjem II - 
mummy and coffins were found intact in the royal cache (DB 320), sug- 
gesting that this was his original place of burial. The king was accompa- 
nied by his large blue ushabtis (p. 177), together with one of his wive- 
Neskhons, and their daughter, Nesitanebashru. The fact that othc-: 
members of the family were also found in the cache suggests that th> 
was the original place of interment. 

It was the appearance on the antiquities market in the late 1870s 
ushabtis and funerary papyri of these members of the 21st Dyna- 
priestly royal family that alerted Gaston Maspero to the possibility of a 
new find. He thought that the fellahin had discovered an intact tomb 
the period. After intensive local questioning, the Abd el-Rassul fair 
were identified as the culprits and led the authorities to the conceal 
shaft of DB 320 in the next wadi south of Deir el-Bahari. Here they \\\ 
amazed to discover not only the 21st Dynasty bodies and equipniL 
but also the mummies of the majority of the great pharaohs of the N\ 
Kingdom (see p. 103). 

Psusennes 'IIP is a shadowy, possibly even non-existent, figure. If 
evidence of a doubtfully read docket from Deir el-Bahari tomb 320 . 
accepted, he would be a son of Pinedjem II, with a reign of at least fii 
years and some have suggested as much as 24 years. 

The 21st Dynasty at Tanis 

The move of power and control from Upper Egypt to Lower Egypt, esp 
cially reflected in the founding of cities in the eastern Delta by kings :: 
the later 19th and 20th Dynasties, made the division of Egypt compk: . 
Whilst the autonomous High Priests of Amun at Thebes paid a nodd:: 
allegiance to the kings in the Delta, they were nevertheless a separ 

After Ramesses XI died in 1070, Smendes proclaimed himself k: 
ruling from the Delta. With his accession, the 'official 7 21st Dynas: 
may be said to have begun. Manetho is able to present more detail witi 
this dynasty, listing seven kings, each with their length of reign, 
allocating a total of 130 years for them. This corresponds well with tl 
overall dates postulated here of 1069 to 945. Since Smendes is knov^ 
have lived at Memphis at least for a while, no doubt the crowning cere 
mony was carried out there as of old. The new king's origins are obs^ 
and he seems to have consolidated his position by marrying one of tl 
many daughters of Ramesses XL 


ses XI (KV 
itly, quasi- 
whether in 

erta 1054- 
>mendes II 
f his wife 
Dedjem II's 
13201 sug- 
is accompa- 
f his wives, 
that other 
ts that this 

ite 1870s ot 
st Dynasty 
sibility of a 
act tomb of 
issul family 
e concealed 
e they were 
of the New 

igure. If the 
[omb 320 is 
at least five 

Egypt, espe- 
i by kings in 
pt complete 
id a noddm^ 
>s a separate 

imself kin. 
* -: Dynast 
t detail with 
)f reign, and 
rell with the 
is known r 
jwning cere- 
> are obscure 
\g one of th - 

w of the tomb of Psusennes I within 
enclosure of the temple of Amun at 

The group of royal tombs was 
id by Professor Pierre Montet in 
9 below the temple pavement; that 
susennes is the only intact royal 
tb found in Egypt. 

The Delta capital was moved in Smendes' reign from Piramesse to 
Tanis, which was largely rebuilt, using many monuments of Middle and 
New Kingdom date transferred from other sites. It was to become a 
great city of obelisks. Smendes also carried out extensive work at 
Karnak, which included the restoration of a section of the temple's 
great enclosure wall that protected it from the waters of the annual 

Smendes died in 1043 and the brief interlude before the accession of 
Psusennes I in 1039 was filled by Ameiiemnisu, a son of Herihor and 

Burial Chamber of 
Queen Mutnodjmet 

Outer red granite 

Inner black granite, 
sarcophagus / 

/ / 

metric view of the tomb of 
^nnes I at Tanis. Both the king's 
ae sarcophagi were reused 
y 180-81) and enclosed a silver coffin 
ith gold embellishments and within 
over the face of the disintegrated 
ummy, a gold face mask (p. 180). 




4JC Silver 
// coffin 

180 The Third Intermediate Period 

[Above] One of a pair of rigid gold 
bracelets, hinged to open. They carry 
the cartouches of Psusennes but were 
both found on the arms of King 
Amenemope at Tanis. Cairo Museum. 

[Right] The solid silver coffin of 
Psusennes, its upper half with added 
gold embellishments. Cairo Museum. 

[Below] Psusennes' gold face mask is 
certainly the finest of several found at 
Tanis, although it does not bear 
comparison with the earlier one of 
Tutankhamun (p. 128]. Cairo Museum. 

ove) The g 
enemope t 
racter by c 
mples. Cai 


mmy of Ki 

upper wit 

^hthys supj 

.. jr v . 
rnse to Osi 

Nodjmet. Civil war still raged in the Theban area, and a number of tl 
dissidents were exiled to the western oases, then held by Libyan chiefs 
A black granite stele in the Louvre records the banishment of these pec 
pie and, strangely, their subsequent permit to return under an oracub 
decree from Amun. It all seems to have been part of a plan between :': 
north and south, the secular and the religious factions. This rapproch? 
ment was set in motion by the next king Psusennes I in allowing tl 
marriage of his daughter Isiemkheb to the High Priest Menkheperre. 

The royal burial chambers at Tanis 

Further links between Tanis and Thebes manifested themselves ; 
temple dedicated to the Theban trio of Amun, Mut and Khonsu . 
Tanis. It was within the precinct of this temple that Pierre JVU : 
found in 1939-40 the stone-built burial chambers of the 21st Dynas: 
kings. The rich tomb of Psusennes was found intact, the only pharaor 
grave ever discovered thus (the fabulous tomb of Tutankhamun havir 
been robbed twice in antiquity before being resealed, p. 135). A 
carved red granite sarcophagus enclosed a black granite anthropoid o 
fin, which in turn held a silver inner coffin. Over the face of I 



Above) The gold funerary mask of King 
Amenemope from Tanis has little 
character by comparison with earlier 
examples. Cairo Museum. 

■Aow) Two gold pectorals from the 

;mmy of King Amenemope at Tanis. 
rhe upper with the goddesses Isis and 

.phthys supporting Khepri as a beetle, 
the lower with Amenemope offering 

.ense to Osiris. Cairo Museum. 

mummy lay a gold face mask, but the mummy had been substantially 
destroyed by the poor conditions. The large sarcophagus had originally 
been used 170 years earlier for the burial of Merneptah, successor of 
Ramesses II, in the Valley of the Kings, as his still readable cartouches 
on the lid showed. The black granite coffin had belonged to a high-rank- 
ing 19th Dynasty noble who could not be identified. The reuse of a 
Theban sarcophagus shows that there was friendly contact between 
north and south, and also that the Valley of the Kings was in course of 
being officially looted or its contents recycled. Other members of the 
royal court buried at Tanis included Psusennes' wife, Mutnodjmet, and 
his son and successor, Amenemope. Curiously Amenemope was buried 
in his mother's tomb and not in the one prepared for him. His burial at 
Tanis produced a fine group of funerary material, including a rather 
bland-looking gold face mask, but was not so rich as that of Psusennes. 

Between the reigns of Amenemope and Siamun there seems to have 
been a ruler called Aakheperre Setepenre, usually referred to as 
Osorkon the Elder', who may have reigned for up to six years, but the 
evidence is very scanty. 

Siamun, who came to the throne in about 978 bc, reigned for almost 
20 years. He is chiefly represented by his extensive building work in the 
Delta, at Piramesse but principally at Tanis where he enlarged the tem- 
ple of Amun. His name, however, is also very prevalent at Thebes, 
where it occurs several times with different regnal years on the ban- 
dages used in the rewrapping of a number of the later royal mummies 
from the Deir el-Bahari cache of 1881 (DB 320). 

The little light that is thrown on the 21st Dynasty comes largely 
from the Biblical record, since the period coincides with the struggle of 
David in Israel to unite the tribes and destroy the Philistines, exempli- 
fied initially in the story of David and Goliath. Siamun obviously kept a 
watching brief on the Near Eastern situation and Egypt was able to 
interfere from time to time to protect her own interests and trade 
routes. Now, however, there was an evident change in the Egyptian 
view of diplomatic marriages. Where, hitherto, there had been a stream 
of foreign princesses coming to the Egyptian court, the process was 
slightly reversed, with Egyptian princesses 'marrying out 7 . One princess 
married Hadad, the crown prince of the kingdom of Edom, when he 
took refuge in Egypt after succumbing to David's attacks. A son of this 
union, Genubath, was brought up in the old tradition at the Egyptian 
court and his father eventually regained his throne after David's death, 
no doubt still maintaining close family and trade ties with Egypt. 

An Egyptian campaign in which Gezer was seized from the weakened 
Philistines is recorded in the Old Testament. Solomon had succeeded 
his father David and an Egyptian alliance was sealed by Solomon's mar- 
riage to an Egyptian princess. The end of the dynasty came with 
Psusennes II whose reign, lasting 14 years, is little known. His succes- 
sor, Sheshonq I, the founder of the 22nd Dynasty, married Maatkare, 
Psusennes' daughter, thus forging another dynastic marriage tie. 

182 The Third Intermediate Period 

DYNASTY 22 (at Tanis) 

(Libyan or 




Sheshonq I 





| y[J aaa^a 

Sheshonq III 



■ --\ 

fh& : 







no cartouche 

A^v^N I 





Osorkon I 




Sheshonq II 




c. 890 

Takelot I 



Osorkon II 







J) Pami 

xj Usermaatre 







A*AAA /j 

.11 I I I l| | rr- 



Sheshonq V 



Osorkon IV 










I /WWn /\ 

V V7 A^V^vA /■ 

Takelot II 





i^'MHY 7 ?. H^lAI:^ ,,:: A-AAm;^ Cm A.A^A:^' ( ■ , 

Sheshonq II 









Sheshonq I to Bakenrenef 183 

\ VSTY 23 (at Leontopolis) 




t^=h ^ 






ggf) Sheshonq IV 




I \ t I I U J f\ Ml I llil 



VTIg^i^ OsorkonUI 

j|j ^^o^^xi Usermaatre 
IiSjT jj. — ^^ — ^ 1 Setepenamun 


BJ^SH Takelotm 







® U 












NASTY 24 (atSais) 











Often referred to as the Libyan or Bubastite dynasty, the 22nd Dynasty 
immediately betrays its origins. Manetho lists the kings as all being 
from Bubastis in the eastern Delta and the Libyan element is evident in 
the founder, Sheshonq I, who inaugurated the sequence of Libyan chiefs 
who were to rule Egypt for the next 200 years. Sheshonq himself, allied 
by marriage as the son-in-law of his predecessor, Psusennes II, had the 



V 3 

m 1 I I ! 1**" 

V 1 

' r 

1 23 

1 1 III! 








184 The Third Intermediate Period 

{Above) Sheshonq Fs cartonnage coffin 
from Tanis underlines the Horus 
iconography in its falcon mask, and his 
silver coffin was similarly modelled. 
Cairo Museum. 

[Right] Gold trinity of Osiris (on a lapis 
lazuli pillar inscribed for Osorkon II), 
flanked by Horus and Isis. It probably 
came from the robbed royal tombs at 
Tanis but was acquired by the Louvre, 
Paris in 1872. 




strength of the military behind him as commander-in-chief of all tht 
armies. In the Theban records he is noted as 'Great Chief of the 
Meshwesh', who were originally recruited from Libyan tribes as 
internal police force. Like many previous pharaohs, Sheshonq endeav- 
oured to show his right to rule by adopting hallowed titles, in thi 
instance those of Smendes I of almost a hundred years before. 

Sheshonq was a strong ruler who brought the divided factions 
Thebes and Tanis together into a once more united Egypt. Calcula: 
appointments of his sons to various high offices meant that he exero 
specific control over important areas of the country. Uniting the R 
gious and secular spheres, his son Iuput was Governor of Upper E. 
and at the same time both High Priest of Amun and commander- ir. 
chief of the armies. Another son, Djedptahaufankh, supported his brot 
er in the religious field as Third Prophet of Amun. Yet another 
Nimlot, acted as military commander at Herakleopolis, an importar 
garrison that could keep Thebes in check, if need be, to the south. Wit 
such a stable power base at home, Sheshonq could then turn his a 
outwards to the old Egyptian Near Eastern possessions. 

Sheshonq triumphs in Palestine 

Following the death of Solomon in 930 bc, the kingdoms of Judah a 
Israel under Rehoboam (Solomon's son) and Jeroboam I, respective 





f 4 

. , :. 

<# ^ n^ 


J : 



S 1 , 12 








Sheshonq I TO Bakenrenef 185 

: Sheshonq I's triumphant relief 
captive cities in the temple of 
in at Karnak. 


-E3H0NQ I 

^ame + {epithet) 
r -shonq (mery- 
..n) ('Sheshonq, 
:ved of Amun') 
-nown as 
S^eshonk I, 
"oshenk I, 
5^ak (Bible) 
a name 
.etep-en-re ('Bright 
" ^e Manifestation 
* Re, Chosen of 

:rkon I 

-ame + {epithet) 
sorkon (mery- 
Tiiin) ('Osorkon, 

. 3d of Amun') 

. name 
Powerful are the 

■ ~'estations of 


ame + {epithet) 
eshonq (mery- 
„n) ('Sheshonq, 
:ved of Amun') 
•~e name 
>etep-en-re (The 

■-''estation of Re 
"jtes, Chosen of 


n ame + {epithet) 
'akelot (mery- 
wnun) (Takelot, 
Jeloved of Amun') 
? known as 

•e name 
-e-'-maat-re Setep- 
rvre ('Powerful is 
.jstice of Re, 
chosen of Re') 

: \0N II 
-ame + {epithet) 
C-sorkon (mery- 
vnun) ('Osorkon, 
Beloved of Amun') 
r name 

r'-maat-re Setep- 
~mun ('Powerful 
-e Justice of Re, 
■sen of Amun') 


Birth name + {epithet) 
Takelot (mery- 
amun) (Takelot, 
Beloved of Amun') 

Throne name 
Setep-en-re ('Bright 
is the Manifestation 
of Re, Chosen of 


Birth name + {epithet) 
Sheshonq (mery- 
amun) ('Sheshonq, 
Beloved of Amun') 

Throne name 
User-maat-re Setep- 
en-re ('Powerful is 
the Justice of Re, 
Chosen of Re') 


Birth name 
Pami ('He who 
belongs to the Cat 

Also known as 

Throne name 
User-maat-re Setep- 
en-amun ('Powerful 
is the Justice of Re, 
Chosen of Amun') 


Birth name 

Throne name 
Aa-kheper-re ('Great 
is the Soul of Re') 


Birth name 

Throne name 
Aa-kheper-re Setep- 
en-amun ('Great is 
the Soul of Re, 
Chosen of Amun') 


Birth name 
Harsiese ('Horus 
Son of Isis') 

Throne name 
('Bright is the 
Manifestation of 
Re, Chosen of Re') 





r, ,;.1 £ 

5* r '^ ii^ 

K-,-..-.:ei-<:..- ,.,s-A. .;• " l %m~:- : '-xt: 

were at loggerheads and ripe for strong Egyptian military intervention. 
Sheshonq - Shishak of the Bible - defeated them both in 925 bc in a 
highly successful campaign, the like of which had not been seen since 
the days of Ramesses III in the 20th Dynasty. He moved first against 
Judah, arriving before the walls of Jerusalem, held by Rehoboam. The 
city was surrounded but Sheshonq was bought off from entering it by 
being given 'the treasures of the house of the Lord, and the treasures of 
the king's house; he even took away all: and he took away all the 
shields of gold which Solomon had made 7 (1 Kings 14: 26). All 
Solomon's treasures, except apparently the most sacred and emotive 
Ark of the Covenant, fell to Sheshonq. Pharaoh then turned his atten- 
tion to Israel, pursuing his earlier protege Jeroboam, who fled over the 
Jordan. Finally, Sheshonq halted at Megiddo, the scene of Tuthmosis 
Ill's victory 500 years before, and erected a suitable victory stele in the 
manner of his predecessors. 

Such success was duly signalled in the appropriate place - on the 
walls of the temple of Amun at Thebes - and the sandstone quarries at 









186 The Third Intermediate Period 

ivi t ^" : ^ ^ ^ 

Grey granite head of Osorkon II, from 
Tanis. University Museum, 

[Left] Granite torso with the cartouche 
of Osorkon I found at Byblos. A 
dedication inscription in archaic 
Phoenician script has been added to it 
by King Elibaal of Byblos. Louvre, Paris. 

[Right] The gold funerary mask of 
Sheshonq II, one of the finer examples 
from the royal tombs at Tanis. Cairo 

Gebel el-Silsila had to be reopened to provide the building material. 
Input, as High Priest of Amun, was also head of works. A great new 
court was constructed before the Second Pylon at Karnak, its south 
outer wall decorated with a huge relief of Sheshonq victorious through 
the grace of Amun and with captives falling to his might. 

Soon after the triumphant Palestinian campaigns, Sheshonq went to 
join his ancestors in the group of royal tombs at Tanis, his mummy 
encased in a cartonnage and a silver coffin, both having Horus falcon 
heads to identify the king with Osiris-Sokar (p. 184). 

Osorkon I, who succeeded his father, continued to provide strong 
patronage for the various leading priesthoods, thereby consolidating his 
position as well as maintaining a continuous building programme, espe- 
cially at his native city of Bubastis. The chief priesthood of Amun at 
Karnak was taken from his brother, Iuput, and given to one of his sons, 
Sheshonq (II), whom he took as co-regent in 890 bc. Sheshonq, however, 
predeceased his father by a few months, and both were buried at Tanis. 
The successor was Takelot I, another son of Osorkon by a minor wife. 
This reign, although 15 years in length, has left no major monuments 
and saw the beginning of the fragmentation of Egypt once more into 
two power bases. 

Osorkon II succeeded Takelot I as pharaoh in 874 bc at much the 
same time that his cousin Harsiese succeeded his father (Sheshonq II) as 
High Priest of Amun at Karnak. Problems arose in Year 4 of Osorkon 
when Harsiese declared himself king in the south. Although he was 
only king in name, when Harsiese died Osorkon II consolidated his own 
position by appointing one of his sons, Nimlot, as High Priest at Karnak 
and another son, Sheshonq, as High Priest of Ptah at Memphis. Osorkon 
thereby had the two major priesthoods of Egypt in his family's grasp as \ 
political move rather than from any religious motivation. Major build- 
ing works were undertaken in the reign, especially at Bubastis in the 

Sheshonq I to Bakenrenef 187 

[Right] Relief of Osorkon 
II and Queen Karomama I 
from the great red granite 
hall the king built at 
Bubastis to celebrate his 
heb-sed. British Museum. 

[Left] In 1829 at Thebes 
Champollion acquired a 
superb bronze standing 
statue of Queen 
Karomama II, daughter of 
Nimlot and wife of 
Takelot II, almost 2 ft 
(59.5 cm) high. She is 
represented in her office 
as Divine Adoratrice of 
Amun and details of her 
elegant features and dress 
are inlaid in gold and 
silver. Now in the 
Louvre, it is one of the 
r fmest pieces oYits pefioci. 

temple of the tutelary cat-goddess Bastet. There Osorkon built a monu- 
mental red granite hall decorated with fine reliefs of himself and his 
wife Karomama I celebrating his jubilee (heb-sed) in Year 22. Other 
buildings in his name were constructed at Memphis, Tanis, Thebes and 
Leontopolis (to become the seat of the succeeding dynasty). 

In the outside world of the Near East a growing menace was coming 
from Assyria, who turned her attentions towards the Levant after over- 
coming northern Mesopotamia and Syria, and with an eventual eye for 
Egypt. The Assyrian king Shalmaneser III (858-828 bc) continued his 
father Ashurnasirpal IPs campaigns into Syria/Palestine. In 853 Egypt 
was forced to confront the threat by aligning with Israel and neighbour- 
ing kingdoms, including her old ally Byblos,- together they halted the 
Assyrian advance at the battle of Qarqar on the Orontes. 

Takelot II succeeded his father Osorkon II in 850 and maintained sta- 
bility in the south where his half-brother Nimlot was still in power at 
Thebes as High Priest. Nimlot had consolidated his position by extend- 
ing north to Herakleopolis and placing his son Ptahwedjankhef in 
charge there. Nimlot then married his daughter Karomama II to Takelot 
II, thereby cementing a bond between north and south and becoming 
the father-in-law of his half-brother. Karomama must have been buried 

188 The Third Intermediate Period 



('Powerful is the 

Birth name + (epithet) 

Justice of Re') 

Pe-di-bastet (mery- 

amun) ('Wise One 


of Bastet, Beloved 

Birth name 

of Amun') 


Also known as 

Throne name 


User-maat-re Setep- 

Petubastis (Greek) 

en-amun ('Powerful 

Throne name 

is the Justice of Re, 

User-maat-re Setep- 

Chosen of Amun') 

en-amun ('Powerful 

is the Justice of Re, 


Chosen of Amun') 

Birth name + [epithet) 

luput (mery-amun 


si-bastet) ('luput, 

Birth name 

Beloved of Amun, 


Son of Bastet') 

Throne name 

Throne name 

User-maat-re Mery- 


amun ('Powerful is 

('Powerful is the 

the Justice of Re, 

Justice of Re') 

Beloved of Amun') 



Birth name 

Birth name 



Throne name 


User-maat-re Setep- 

Birth name 

en-amun ('Powerful 


is the Justice of Re, 

Also known as 

Chosen of Amun') 


Throne name 



Birth name 

('Beautiful is the 

Take lot 

Soul of Re') 

Throne name 




Also known as 

Birth name 

Bocchoris (Greek) 


Throne name 

Throne name 


Shepses-re ('Noble 

('Constant is the 

like Re') 

Soul of Re') 


Birth name 


[Opposite] Relief of luput represented as 
the god Horus seated on a lotus flower, 
an allusion to the creation legend when 
the god on his flower arose from the 
primeval waters. Royal Scottish 
Museum, Edinburgh. 

at Thebes, since her rather poor green-glazed composition ushabti : 
ures have been appearing from there in the antiquities market for ow: 
150 years, but her tomb has not been found. 

Problems arose, however, in Year 1 1 of Takelot II with the death o 
Nimlot. The question of who should succeed him as High Priest i 
Amun led to open hostilities. Thebes, led by a Harsiese who claim. 
descent from the king Harsiese, revolted against Takelot's choice of . 
son Prince Osorkon. Nimlot's son, Ptahwedjankhef, Governor 
Herakleopolis, supported Takelot's decision, thereby allowing Pr: 
Osorkon an easy passage south past his fortress to curb the rebellir: 
Thebans. The rebels were relentlessly crushed, the ringleaders execute 
and their bodies burnt to ensure that there would be no hope of an afta 
life for them. 

For the next four years peace reigned, but in Year 15 of Takelot 
civil war once again struck the country. On this occasion, however I 
revolt was not so easily put down and lasted for almost a decade. It v. 
probably at this time that further incursions were made into the W. 
of the Kings, with 'official 7 sanction, when the sarcophagus box 
Ramesses VI was overturned in a vain search for hidden trea- 
beneath it (p. 168). 

When Takelot II died he was buried at Tanis, where he was four . 
Pierre Montet in a reused coffin in the antechamber of the tomb 
Osorkon II. The Crown Prince Osorkon never succeeded to the throi 
because his younger brother Sheshonq moved to seize power, proclair 
ing himself pharaoh as Sheshonq III. He was to enjoy an incredibly lc 
reign of 53 years. It was also to be the most confusing period of Egypt: 
history, with not only an initial split between north and south, ~ 
and Thebes, but also a later rift between the east and the central D. 
Tanis and Leontopolis respectively. 

There are a number of dates to use as chronological pegs in the '. 
reign of Sheshonq III, but there are also large gaps in between. In Yeai 
Harsiese reappeared as Chief High Priest of Amun, apparently wi; 
too much commotion at Thebes because Sheshonq had let the Tlu 
have their own way and choice. In Year 20 (c. 806 bc), the us; 
Prince Osorkon was appointed to the High Priest's post at Thel 
Unusually, he had not been disposed of by his usurping younger brc 
er. Then, in Year 25 (c. 800 bc), Harsiese once again assumed the 
of High Priest, only to disappear, perhaps finally dead, in Year 29. Pr: 
Osorkon had not died when Harsiese returned to power and was - 
evident in Upper Egypt with a controlling hand for another ten ye:. 

The 23rd Dynasty 

In Sheshonq Ill's Year 8 (c. 818 bc) he had to contend with a breaka^ 
in the central Delta, at Leontopolis, where a prince named Peclib^ 
proclaimed a new dynasty, the 23rd, with himself as the founding 
Although members of the Tanite royal house held posts at Thebes 
priests of Amun were, as ever, politically very aware and at least 

ve) Bronz. 
.: by cartouc 
belt buckle 






Sheshonq I to Bakenrenef 189 

Above) Bronze statuette of Pami, ident- 
ified by cartouches on his right shoulder 
and belt buckle. British Museum. 

sons of the new dynasty joined them. Pedibastet reigned for 25 years 
and was succeeded by Sheshonq IV (793-787) and then Osorkon III 
(787-759). For 14 years, Osorkon III at Leontopolis, and Sheshonq III at 
Tanis, reigned concurrently, but in 773 Sheshonq III died leaving 
Osorkon III to continue his reign in the central Delta for another 15 
years. Osorkon designated his son Takelot as ruler of Herakleopolis 
while he was also Chief Priest. Around 765 bc Takelot became co- 
regent with his father, but his sole reign as Takelot III after the death of 
Osorkon six years later lasted only about two years. Meantime at Tanis 
an obscure king called Pami occupied the throne for six years [773-767] 
before being succeeded by his son, Sheshonq V, with his son, Osorkon 
IV, in turn becoming king and officially the last ruler of the 22nd 

The coincidence of Dynasties 22 (Tanis) and 23 (Leontopolis) is 
extremely confusing, especially since not all the relationships between 
the many rulers, let alone their dates, are clear. At one point, a com- 
mander of Herakleopolis named Peftjauabastet married Takelot Ill's 
niece, who was also the daughter of Rudamon (Takelot's brother). 
Rudamon enjoyed a brief reign after Takelot, to be succeeded by Iuput, 
and there arose a situation where three men - Iuput (Leontopolis), 
Peftjauabastet (Herakleopolis) and Nimlot (Hermopolis) - were all 
simultaneously claiming to be 'kings 7 . They merely held sway over 
small areas of Egypt and it was the growing danger from Nubia 
that led them to band together for the common good, although in 
the end it availed them nothing (p. 190 ff.). 

The 24th Dynasty 

The Nubian influence had indeed been growing in southern 
Egypt, extending as far north as Thebes. Tefnakht, the king of 
Sais in the Delta, recognized this and attempted to stem the 
invasion by organizing a coalition of northern kings that 
included Osorkon IV (Tanis), Peftjauabastet (Herakleopolis), 
Nimlot (Hermopolis) and Iuput (Leontopolis). Tefnakht 
became the first of the only two kings of the 24th Dynasty,- 
the other was Bakenrenef (better known in Greek myth as 
the Bocchoris who tangled with Herakles). Tefnakht probably 
reigned for about eight years and Bakenrenef for six. Initially, 
the confederation of northern rulers enjoyed a certain suc- 
cess, in that the Nubian king Piankhi (Piyi), allowed them to 
come south. The two forces met at Herakleopolis and 
Tefnakht was compelled to retreat to Hermopolis where he, 
and subsequently the other kings of the coalition, surren- 
dered to Piankhi, who was now personally leading his forces. 
All four 'kings 7 were then allowed to continue as governors of 
their respective cities, a policy which, centuries later, 
Alexander the Great was to find effective in his world con- 

190 The Third Intermediate Period 

DYNASTY 25 (Nubian/Kushite) 




Piankhi (Piyi) 



W a A 






©I 1j 




/VVW\ A^AV\ L 












Throne name 

Birth name 



('Enduring is the 

Also known as 

Soul of Re') 

Piankhy, Piyi 


Throne name 


Men-kheper-re (The 

Manifestation of Re 



Birth name 




Throne name 



('Nefertum is his 

Birth name 




Throne name 



('Beautiful is the 


Soul of Re') 

Birth name 




Throne name 

Ba-ka-re ('Glorious 


is the Soul of Re') 

Birth name 




Since the days of Ramesses II in the 19th Dynasty, Nubia - the Ian 
Kush south of Aswan - had gone its own way, eventually foundir 
kingdom, Napata, that was independent at last from its powerful no 
ern neighbour. During the Egyptian presence of the later New Kingc 
the cult of Amun had taken a firm hold in Nubia, its major cult c 
located at the great rock of Gebel Barkal. Here a major temple was b 
to the Theban god; the priests engaged in his cult, like their north 
counterparts at Thebes, gradually increased their own influence a 
side that of the deity until they similarly usurped the kingsh: 
dynastic succession seems to have been established as early as the 
10th century bc with the use of the traditional pharaonic titles an. 

The Nubian conquest 

With the breakdown of Egyptian sovereignty in Egypt the Nubian 
began to look north. They viewed their incursions into Egypt no 
much as an invasion but as a restoration of the old status qu 
supremacy of Amun. Hence, when Piankhi (Piyi) moved north a : 
the coalition of four Egyptian kings in Year 21 of his Nubian 
about 727 bc, he could take the view that these kings had acte.: 


P'YN.A-8'f* ;v- Pv.^aX 'KPSiHfn. 






The Victory Stele of Piankhi, 5 ft 10 

iches (180 cm) high and 6 ft (184 cm) 
wide. Its 159 lines are written in the 

ighly rhetorical language of the old 

: adition. In the lunette relief at the top, 
Amun, specifically identified as being of 
Napata, sits enthroned while Piankhi, 
-landing, receives four identified 

kings 7 , each having the royal uraeus 
emblem on their brow, with Nimlot 
singled out as their leader. 

The Nubians 7 great love of horses is 
reflected in lines 63-68 which describe 

w, having successfully besieged 
Hermopolis, Piankhi had the women- 
folk of the surrendering king (Nimlot) 
wrought before him, 'but His Majesty 
-.urned not his face towards them. His 
Majesty proceeded to the stable of the 

• trses and the quarters of the foals. 
When he saw that they had suffered 
hunger [because of the rigours of the 
siege], he said: "I swear, as Re loves me 

ind as my nostrils are rejuvenated with 
re, it is more grievous in my heart that 
my horses have suffered hunger, than 

iny evil deed thou [King Nimlot] hast 
me, in the prosecution of thy desire 
. . I could not but condemn him on 

iccount of it."' Cairo Museum (from 
lariette's drawing). 





x&^u® '^im^zm^i 




i^ rsM^rf?^~rzM? 




naughty children who needed to be brought into line. After their defeat 
he treated them with leniency, confirming them as governors, although 
one, Tefnakht, had fled further north into the Delta where he attempted 
to regroup and at the same time sent an eloquent address to Piankhi, 
full of the old rhetoric, seeking a truce. 

A remarkably full account of these events is recorded on a large pink 
granite block found in 1862 in the temple of Amun at Gebel Barkal 
(now in Cairo). This so-called 'Victory Stele 7 is obviously the 'home 7 
copy of an inscription that must have been repeated in other major 
northern sites such as Memphis, still the secular capital, and Thebes 
itself. Complete details of the campaign are given, from Piankhi's deci- 
sion to march north and take charge himself (under the guidance of 
Amun), down to the discussions about how best to invest the fortified 
city of Memphis. On the way, passing through Amun's Thebes, Piankhi 
celebrated the Festival of Opet - during which the figure of Amun was 
carried from Karnak to the Luxor temple - presumably in front of the 
temple reliefs carved 600 years earlier under Tutankhamun. 

Piankhi had legitimized his position in the Nubian succession by 
marrying the daughter of a king named Alara, the seventh king of 
Napata. At Thebes, Piankhi took a firm hold on the priesthood of Amun 
by having the Divine Adoratrice of Amun, Shepenwepet I, 'adopt' as her 
successor his sister Amenirdis I. The maintenance of the cult of Amun 
at both Karnak and Gebel Barkal was an important part of the building 
programme of the successive Kushite kings, to the extent that the latter 
became a huge southern replica of the former. 

Although, curiously, it appears that Piankhi preferred to rule from 
Napata in the south, since he returned there, he invested himself with 
the resonant old coronation names of the New Kingdom pharaohs 
Tuthmosis III and Ramesses II. When he died c. 716 bc Piankhi was 









192 The Third Intermediate Period 

The Divine Adoratrice 

During the New Kingdom royal ladies 
of the court had been invested with a 
certain theological importance as the 
God's Wife. This post was held by a 
royal princess, who - as the wife of 
Amun - maintained the god's cult on 
behalf of the king, thus endorsing his 
divine right to rule. In the late New 
Kingdom, however, this right was 
increasingly challenged by the 
growing power of the priesthood. It 
may have been partly in response 
that the role of Divine Adoratrice 
evolved. Combining the offices of 
God's Wife and Chief Priestess of 
Amun, the Divine Adoratrice was 
dedicated to the service of Amun and 
held a position of extreme authority, 
in control of the priesthood and 
thereby a vast section of the 
economy. During part of the Third 
Intermediate Period the celibate 
priestess 'adopted' her successor, 
thereby overcoming some of the 
problems inherent in the 
transmission of royal power. 

# #r|P 

Alabaster statue of Queer Amenirdis I, 
Divine Adoratrice, from Karnak. Cairo 

buried at el-Kurru, just to the north of Gebel Barkal, in the pyram 
field that was to include the burials of several of the kings of the 2 ; 
Dynasty, as well as other relatives such as two of Piankhi's sisters. T 
pyramid tombs adopted by the Kushites were very different from the 
northern antecedents - they were much smaller and their angle of inc 
nation was severely sharper than the true pyramid of 52° 51'. 

The Kushite kings wholeheartedly embraced almost all the 
Egyptian burial customs - embalming, the provision of splendid can 
stone ushabtis and other funerary accoutrements. They betrayed : 
Nubian origins, however, in the practice of laying the royal body 
bed in the tomb and, nearby, burying chariot horses standing in u 
of four (for a quadriga) to accompany their master. 

Piankhi was succeeded by his brother Shabaka (here the Nubian s 
cession was at variance with Egyptian custom), who continued \ 
revival of old Egyptian traditions, delving into whatever temple re. 
could be found, or inventing them if necessary. An important re'.: 
this is the 'Shabaka Stone 7 , a slab of basalt 4Vi ft (1.37 m) long, m -•■■ 
the British Museum. Its surface is much abraded and deeply scored : 
having been used at a later date as a millstone. The text on it state- I 
it is a copy taken from an ancient 'worm-eaten' papyrus discover. 
Memphis and recounting the Memphite theology of the creator g(\> 

The overall control exerted by Shabaka (that is, south of the 2 
Dynasty territory in the northern Delta) is indicated by the vast arra> 
building work undertaken in his reign, mainly at Thebes on both e 
and west banks of the Nile and largely in relation to the Amun cult : 
also at other major religious cult centres such as Memphis (Pu 
Abydos (Osiris), Dendera (Hathor), Esna (Khnum) and Edfu (Horus 

After a 14-year reign Shabaka died and, like his brother Piankhi. i 
buried in a steep-sided pyramid at el-Kurru. He was succeeded, each 
turn, by his nephews Shebitku and Taharqa (Piankhi's sons 
Nubian hold on Thebes was maintained through the female line \> 
Shebitku married his aunt Amenirdis I (Piankhi and Shabaka' s - 
the Divine Adoratrice of Amun. The office was to pass to their e;. 
ter, Shepenwepet II. 

The threat from Assyria 

The history of the period is very much tied in with the rise and e\: 
sion of that other great Near Eastern power, Assyria. Whilst Shah 
had kept the Assyrian king Sargon II at bay, thanks largely t 
ruler's problems in other areas such as Urartu (Armenia), Shebitku I 
a different stance and sided with a Palestinian/Phoenician revolt aga: 
the Assyrian overlords. The Assyrian king was now Sennacherib 
brooked no such interference, and the Levantine kings were ■ 
brought to heel. Many events of these campaigns, including the 
and capture of Lachish, are graphically represented in the relief> 
Sennacherib's south-west palace at Nineveh (now in the Bn 
Museum). In order to save Jerusalem, the Judaean king Hezekiah si 

h& name ant 

Taharqa s e 
• m i 
MentuenMl i 
"Prince [mJ 
and, in eflacj 
rtwte of I 
•as most \ 
U*rtypost :> i 
:'~e r off Ml 
vr»e r ai WBQ 3 
fttfues - -..- 




currently in coJ 
among the « 



he had* 



Prince of Thebes 

Grey § mhetwith 

his name ai id title on his belt Cairn 

Taharqa's extensive works at Thebes 
were carried out under the direction 
of an extraordinary man named 
Mentuemhet, who held the office of 
'Prince [Mayor] of tie City [Thebes]' 
and, in effect, virtually ruled the 
whole of Middle Egypt. Curiously, he 
was most proud of his office as 
'Four+h Prophet of Amun', a relatively 
lowly post by comparison with the 
other offices he held. He is one of 
the few great officials ot whom 
several very distinctive portrait 
statues have survived. His tomb In 
the Assasif at Thebes (TT 34, 
currently in course of restoration) is 
among the largest in the necropolis, 
its great arched brick superstructure 
rising in front of Dei, el Bahari. From 
his tomb and inscriptions on his large 
terracotta funerary cones, we learn 
that he had three wives. He and his 
brothers, who also held high-ranking 
priestly offices kept, the Theban 
nobility in check for Taharqa. 

dered to Sennacherib (Byron's 'wolf') whose opinion of Hezekiah's ally 
Egypt was to liken it to 'a broken reed'. 

A brief respite followed for Egypt. Taharqa succeeded his brother 
Shebitku as pharaoh in 690 bc, and Sennacherib was assassinated in 
Nineveh in 681 bc, bringing his son, Esarhaddon, to the throne. 
Taharqa's name is the one most associated with the Kushite dynasty, 
largely because of his widespread building activities, the best known of 
which is the splendid re-erected column in the First Court of the temple 
of Amun at Karnak, just one of a series that formed a great portico 
kiosk. Not only did Taharqa build throughout Egypt, he was also 
extremely active in Nubia. At Kawa he virtually resurrected the aban- 
doned site founded under Amenhotep III and dedicated to Amun. A vast 
complex was inaugurated there that took on important ritual connota- 
tions and was second only to the Gebel Barkal complex. 

Taharqa's reign was one of confrontations with the Assyrians, the 
pendulum swinging first one way, then the other. At Ashkelon on the 
Egyptian/Palestinian border, Esarhaddon was repulsed in 673 by the 
combined forces of the rebellious city and Egypt. In 671, however, the 
result went the other way. Esarhaddon then struck deep into Egypt, cap- 
tured Memphis, the heir apparent and most of the royal family except 
Taharqa, who escaped south to Thebes. Another uprising in 669 saw 
Esarhaddon returning to Egypt, but he died on the road and was suc- 
ceeded by his son, Ashurbanipal, who withdrew shortly thereafter. That 
was the signal for a renewed uprising, but Assyria exacted swift 
vengeance on the insurgents in the north of Egypt, executing all the 
local nobility save one, the future Necho 1 of the 26th Dynasty. Taharqa 
lost Memphis again, and then fled south and on past Thebes to his 
remote capital at Napata. Mentuemhet, Mayor of Thebes, was left to 
surrender to the Assyrian forces. 

Taharqa had not shared power with his predecessor Shabaka, but in 
665 bc he recognized his cousin, Tanutamun, as his heir and co-regent, 
and died the next year. Tanutamun's vision was one of the resurgence of 
Nubian and Egyptian grandeur. The gods were with him, he must have 
thought, as he swept north, taking Aswan and Thebes and then 
Memphis itself. The story is inscribed on a stele from Gebel Barkal, nar- 
rating how, like Tuthmosis IV before him (p. 114), Tanutamun had a 
dream of greatness, was crowned at Napata and then realized the dream. 
The run of good fortune, however, was shortlived. Ashurbanipal reacted 
swiftly, Memphis fell yet again, and Tanutamun fled south. This time, 
however, the inconceivable happened: Thebes, jewel of Amun and the 
ancient world, was sacked and its huge temple treasury laid waste. Its 
fall was an object lesson to the whole of the ancient Near East, to be 
quoted for centuries by such as the Old Testament prophet Nahum 
when he mocked Nineveh's fall in 612 bc. The Assyrians nominally 
held Egypt but Tanutamun was secure in Napata: Ashurbanipal would 
not venture beyond the boundary at Aswan. Tanutamun's death in 656 
bc extinguished the century-old Nubian domination of its old foe Egypt. 


194 The Third Intermediate Period 

DYNASTY 26 (Saite 









Psamtik I 
(Psammetichus I) 





Psamtik II 
(Psammetichus II 









4/so known as 

-= --_-. 

*. so known as 
\echo (GreeV 

Throne name 
Carrying out 
Wish of Re Fo 



"one name 
% *efer-ir>re 
3eautiful is t 

-eart of Re' 


AhmOSe II (sineit) 




Faience ushabti of Nekau (Necho) 
inscribed with Chapter 6 of the Bo< 
the Dead. The features on many of 
later royal ushabtis seem to be pc 
Leiden Museum. 


Psamtik III 

^j^ (Psammetichus III) 














Birth name 

Birth name 



Also known as 

('Constant is the 

Psammetichus 1 

Heart of Re') 


Also known as 

Throne name 

Apries (Greek) 


Throne name 

('Constant is the 

Haa-ib-re ('Jubilant 

Heart of Re') 

is the Heart of Re 



Birth name 



Birth name+ {epithet) 

Also known as 

Ah-mose (si-neit) 

Necho (Greek) 

('The Moon is Born, 

Throne name 

Son of Neith') 


Also known as 

('Carrying out the 

Amasis (Greek) 

Wish of Re Forever') 

Throne name 

Khnem-ib-re ('He 


who embraces the 

Birth name 

Heart of Re') 


Throne name 



Birth name 

('Beautiful is the 


Heart of Re') 

Throne name 

Ankh-ka-re ('Re 

gives Life to the 


By virtue of the sporadic Assyrian overlordship of Egypt, the end of the 
25th (Nubian) Dynasty and the beginning of the 26th (Saite) Dynasty 
overlapped. After the second uprising against Assyria in 665 bc, 
Ashurbanipal had confirmed Nekau (I) (Necho (I)) as king of Sais and his 
son Psamtik (better known by the Greek name Psammetichus) as king 
of Athribis - both cities being in the Delta. The Saite family hold on the 
area was therefore consolidated with Assyrian approval. On the death of 
Necho in 664, Psammetichus I was recognized by the Assyrians as king 
of Egypt. His task was to control not only the unruly princes and petty 
kings of the Delta, but also to come to some reconciliation with the 
power centre at Thebes. This latter proved to be easier than anticipated. 
The great noble Mentuemhet was still a major figure there and he allied 
himself with Psammetichus 7 daughter, the princess Nitocris, who had 
been sent south early in 6S6 bc to be officially adopted as Divine 
Adoratrice of Amun amidst great celebrations by Shepenwepet II and 
Amenirdis II, the two current holders of the office. Secular and religious 
ties were therefore effected that were to hold the state together whilst 
Psammetichus could turn his attentions to his Delta opponents. He pre- 
vailed by conscripting a great army, bringing in mercenaries from the 
Mediterranean world, many of them Greeks, and including Carians 
whose inscribed tombstones found at Saqqara have only recently been 

Renewed prosperity in Egypt 

Psammetichus Fs reign of over half a century saw a return to stability 
and the old religious values. Outside influences, both artistic and trade, 
came into the country as never before but, despite this, there was a 
great renaissance in indigenous traditions, with many art forms looking 
back to Middle and Old Kingdom antecedents. It is at times difficult to 
be absolutely sure whether a statue or relief is a Saite revival piece or 
something much older. The reliefs in Mentuemhet's tomb at Thebes 
(TT 34) are prime examples of this. 

Status and trade also improved upon a fuller entry into the economy 
of the ancient Mediterranean. In 653 bc, Psammetichus, profiting from 
Assyria's internal problems, threw off the foreign yoke, allowing Egypt 
once more to be a dominant power in the Near East. The gradual 
Assyrian collapse was, however, leaving a dangerous power vacuum in 
the area. Like vultures, other nations hovered over the death throes - 
the Babylonians under Nabopolassar, the Medes and the Scythians par- 
ticularly. Nabopolassar created havoc in 629-627 bc, advancing as far as 

third intermediate; 



196 The Third Intermediate Period 

[Above] Bronze kneeling statue of 
Nekau (Necho) in an offering attitude. It 
is the only known sculpture of the king 
in the round (cf. his ushabti, p. 194). 
University Museum, Philadelphia. 

[Below] Black granite head of Apries. 
Louvre, Paris. 

southern Palestine where he was repulsed at Ashdod on the coast by th< 
Egyptians. Psammetichus, realizing the potential danger for Egypt of a 
Assyrian collapse, actually assisted Assyria against the Babylonians n 
616 bc, but did not have sufficient forces to sway the day for them. . 
joint Scythian and Persian army attacked Assyria a year later, culmina 
ing in the fall of its capital Nineveh in 612 bc and the extinction of tl 
royal line. 

Nekau (II), better known as Necho, continued the foreign involve- 
ments of his father Psammetichus, when he came to the throne in 6 
bc. Palestine once more became an Egyptian possession and much of tl 
history of Egypt's involvement in the area is enshrined in the Biblh 
account in the second Book of Kings. It was now, in the late 7th ceni 
ry, that Greece was expanding her trading contacts and Necho took tl 
opportunity of recruiting displaced Ionian Greeks to form an Egypt 
navy. This was hitherto unheard of in Egypt because the Egyptian- 
an inherent distaste for and fear of the sea. Necho's vision was a 
one - he pre-empted the Suez Canal by almost 2500 years when he ha.: 
navigable canal dug through the Wadi Tumilat between the Pelus:. 
branch of the Nile (where the great frontier fortress of Pelusium 
located) and the Red Sea. A great entrepot city, Per-Temu-Tjeku - :r 
ern Tell el-Mashkuta west of Ismailia - was built on the canal an . 
fortunes, like the later Suez, were linked to the prosperity and use of tl 
new waterway. 

There is little material evidence of Necho's son, Psammetichus I 
(Psamtik II), who reigned for only six years. He was involved wv. 
foray into Nubia in 592, marching as far south as the Third Cataract, 
famous graffito scratched in Greek on the left leg of the colossal seat 
statue of Ramesses II, on the south side of the entrance to the tempi* 
Abu Simbel, records that When King Psammetichus cam. 
Elephantine, this was written by those who sailed with Psammetk 
the son of Theocles, and they came beyond Kerkis as far as the ri\\. 
mits. Those who spoke foreign tongues [i.e. Greeks and Carian^ 
also scratched their names on the monument] were led by Pota> 
the Egyptians by Amasis/ These two last-named leaders were high □ 
itary commanders who are known from other sources in the reign, 
unexplained outcome of this expedition was the deliberate slight: 
monuments of the 25th Dynasty Kushite kings and als 
Psammetichus IPs father, Necho. 

An excursion - it was hardly a campaign - in the following year, i 
into southern Palestine in support of Zedekiah, the Babylonian pupj 
king of Jerusalem, encouraged a Judaean revolt against Babylonian i 
for which Jerusalem paid a heavy price —culminating in a two-year - 
by Nebuchadnezzar II. The city fell in 587. This was during the y 
of the Biblical 37-year Babylonian Exile. 

Wahibre, better known as Apries, succeeded his father in Fel 
589 and continued his policy of intervention in Palestinian affaii 
reign, however, was fraught with military problems at home as v. 


The superb black basalt lid of 
\nkhesneferibre's sarcophagus (one of 
the treasures of the period in the British 
Museum) is carved in low relief, and 
shows her standing figure clad in a 
pleated gown. She wears the royal 
queen's vulture headdress topped by 
plumes, a solar disc and Hathor horns, 
whilst she holds the royal emblems of 
flail and sceptre. Around her are texts 
from the Book of the Dead and the 
underside of the sarcophagus lid is 
carved with a naked figure of the god- 
ess Nut, her arms extended above her 
lead, just as she occurs on a number of 

ew Kingdom sarcophagi and painted 
c eilings of royal tombs in the Valley of 
the Kings. 

abroad. A mutiny by the strategically important Aswan garrison was 
contained, but when Apries' army - sent to aid Libya against Dorian 
Greek invaders - was heavily mauled by the aggressors, civil war broke 
out upon the survivors' return, pitching the indigenous Egyptian army 
against foreign mercenaries. As was to happen so often under the 
Roman empire, the army turned to a victorious general, in this case a 
veteran of the Nubian campaigns, Amasis (Ahmose II), and when the 
two sides met in 570 Apries was killed. The victor nevertheless 
observed the proper rituals and had the body of Apries buried at Sais, 
probably the royal cemetery for the 26th Dynasty. 

The Delta site of Sais (modern Sa el-Hagar) is heavily waterlogged 
and has never been properly investigated. Although it is thought to be 
the royal burial ground, it is strange that little evidence remains of the 
royal burials themselves apart from a few ushabtis, most of whose 
known provenances are other than Sais. The ten ushabtis in the name 
of Psammetichus are difficult to assign specifically to one or other king 
of that name. There is also a splendid ushabti (p. 194) and a heart scarab 
of Necho II, three ushabtis of Apries and six of Amasis. 

The Greek historian Herodotus is one of the best sources for details 
of this period; he visited Egypt in about 450 bc, only a century after the 
events of the later 26th Dynasty. Amasis attempted to restrict the inter- 
nal racial conflicts by granting specific trading rights and privileges to 
foreigners settled at Naukratis in the Delta, making it a free zone rather 
like Delos was in the Greek world. Petrie's excavations there in the late 
19th century produced interesting evidence of the city's cosmopolitan 
nature and its temples to 'alien 7 deities. Mediterranean trade was a 
keynote of the reign of Amasis,- links were forged with many other 
nations, especially the Greeks. Amasis even underwrote the rebuilding 
of the great oracular sanctuary of Apollo at Delphi after a disastrous fire 
destroyed it in 548 bc. 

Although the essential focus of the dynasty was its seat at Sais, the 
family hold over Thebes was maintained through most of the dynasty 
by a great lady, the princess Ankhesneferibre, daughter of Psam- 
metichus II by Queen Takhut. She had been adopted by the Divine 
Adoratrice Nitocris (who was closely associated in the administration 
with Mentuemhet) and succeeded her in 584 bc. She held the office for 
almost 60 years until the Persian Conquest in 525 bc. Her sarcophagus 
(left) was reused in the Ptolemaic period by a royal scribe, Amenhotep, 
who had the feminine suffixes altered to masculine ones. 

Assyrian followed by Babylonian expansion and military activity had 
in turn threatened and subdued Egypt. Now there was a new contender 
on the scene, Persia. She had waged war against the Greeks,- Egypt was 
no match for her. Within a year of succeeding to the Egyptian throne, 
Psammetichus III (Psamtik III) had to face the Persian army in 525 bc at 
Pelusium, the eastern gateway into Egypt. The inexperienced king 
eventually fled, defeated, to Memphis, only to be captured and trans- 
ported to Susa, the Persian capital. 

198 The Late Period 


(First Persian 






n :> 

Cambyses II 



Darius I 



no cartouche 

Darius II 


no cartouche Artaxerxes II 




Artaxerxes I 





Birth name 

Birth name 



Throne name 



('Offspring of Re') 

Birth name 






Birth name 



Birth name 



Throne name 

Birth name 

Setut-re ('Likeness 


of Re') 






The Persian conquest of Egypt in 525 bc was not so traumatic an occi 
rence as the biased contemporary accounts would have us believe. 
Saite dynasty had collapsed, Psammetichus III had been captured .. 
the Achaemenid Persians, led by Cambyses II, simply took charge 
the country. At the beginning of Book 3 of his Histories, Herodoti 
writing only three-quarters of a century after the event, tells three c . 
ous stories as to why Cambyses invaded Egypt: all concern women, 
was the king 7 s request for an Egyptian princess for a wife (i.e. in realn 
a concubine), and his anger when he realized he had been fobbed i 
with a second-rank lady. The second saw Cambyses as the Persian 
Cyrus 7 bastard son by Nitetis (daughter of the Saite king Apriesl, :. 
making Cambyses half Egyptian anyway. The third tale concern- 
promise Cambyses, aged ten, made to his mother (this 
Cassandane) that he would 'turn Egypt upside-down 7 to avenge a shg 
paid her. Herodotus expresses doubt concerning all three stories 
they do reflect the later Greek propaganda that was to colour views 
the Persian dynasty. More to the point, and more accurately, Herodot 
notes how the Persians easily entered Egypt across the desert, tuv 
been advised by the defecting mercenary general, Phane 
Halicarnassus (Herodotus 7 own home city), to employ the bedouin 








Cambyses II to Artaxerxes II 199 




[Right] Cylinder seal of Darius I, said to 
have been found at Thebes, and 
presumably used by a high official. It 
shows the king hunting lions in a palm 
plantation and is inscribed with his 
name in Persian, Susian and Babylonian. 
British Museum. 

[Below] Darius I represented as an 
Egyptian pharaoh before Horus on the 
door from a wooden shrine. British 


ex • 

guides. The Egyptian 
revenge on Phanes for 
betrayal was dire: as 
the two armies con- 
fronted each other, his 
sons, who had been 
left behind in Egypt, 
were brought out in 
front of the Egyptian 
army, where they 
could be seen by their 
father, and their 
throats were slit over 
a large bowl. When they had all been killed, Herodotus tells us, water 
and wine were added to the ghastly contents of the bowl and drunk by 
every man in the mercenary force. 

The Egyptians were routed in the subsequent battle and fled back to 
Memphis. Herodotus gives at length the tribulations suffered by the 
captive Psammetichus and his family, as well as the outrages perpetrat- 
ed by Cambyses. Not least among them were the desecration and delib- 
erate burning of the embalmed body of Amasis, ripped from its tomb at 
Sais, and the stabbing by Cambyses of the sacred Apis bull of Memphis, 
leading to its subsequent death. The high propaganda level of such sto- 
ries may be judged from an inscription in the Serapeum (the burial place 
of the Apis bulls at Memphis/Saqqara) recording the burial of a bull 
with full honours in Cambyses 7 sixth (Persian) year, 523 bc. 

After his initial military success in Egypt, Cambyses had little fur- 
ther luck. Legend tells of his losing an entire army in the desert on its 
way to Siwa Oasis, and alleged traces of the 'lost army 7 are still reported 
from time to time in the press. 

Although Cambyses had his name written in a cartouche, he 
remained a Persian and was buried at Takht-i-Rustam, near Persepolis. 
Only the ruined platform of his tomb survives. Cambyses and the rest 
of the Persian dynasty ruled Egypt from Susa like absentee landlords, 
leaving a satrap in control. 

Darius I succeeded Cambyses in 522 and took a closer interest in the 
internal affairs and administration of Egypt. He had one satrap 
(Aryandes) executed for overstepping his office, built a temple at 
Khargah Oasis and repaired others as far apart as Busiris in the Delta 
and at el-Kab just north of Aswan. Not least, he recorded on a large stele 



200 The Late Period 

The Testimony of an 
Egyptian Courtier 

A standing green basalt statue of a 
man named Udjahorresne (now in the 
Vatican) is one of the most important 
records of this first period of Persian 
occupation. The head and shoulders 
have been restored but the rest of 
the statue is literally covered in a 
long a raphical inscription. 

Udjahorresne, a chief physician and 
priest of Neith at Sais, had served 

Green basalt statue of Udjahorresne. 

under both Amasis and 
Psammetichus III as a naval officer 
and, subsequently, like many of the 
nobility and upper classes of Egypt, 
supported the Persian administra- 
tion. He became a courtier and, it 
would seem, a personnel officer: 'I 
furnished them with all their staffs 
con si sti ng of the well born , no 
lowborn amongst them.' He records 
how he had composed the Egyptian 
titulary of Cambyses (Mesutire), was 
summoned to Susa by Darius I, drew 
the attention of both rulers to the 
traditions of Egypt, and was able 
especially to help his home city of 
Sais in having the important temple 
to the goddess Neith reconsecrated. 

[Left] An alabaster storage jar found j 
Susa with the cartouche of Darius 
shown here in Champollion's render 
of it) and a bilingual inscription of 
cuneiform around the shoulder Loin 


now in Cairo his completion of the canal from the eastern Delta j 
Pelusium to the Red Sea, begun by Necho II. 

The 3 5 -year reign of Darius I - who, like Cambyses, wrote his nam 
in a cartouche - was one of essential prosperity for Egypt, despite h 
now being subject to many outside influences and the politics of I 
Mediterranean world. In 490 the Greeks had, against all odds, defeats 
the Persian army at the battle of Marathon. Darius' attentions 
elsewhere and, in 486, the Egyptians took the opportunity to rev 
Before Darius could suppress the insurgents he died and was buried :: 
great rock-carved tomb in the cliffs at Naqsh-hRustam at Persepol 
The revolt was put down with great severity by the next Persian km 
Xerxes, who himself had to contend with the Greeks again, but 
time at sea, at Salamis in 480 bc. The cruelty of the Persian sa:: 
Achaemenes (Xerxes 7 son) only served to rouse the Egyptians to revol 
once more when Xerxes was assassinated. His successor, Artaxerxt* '. 
thus found himself opposed by the princes Inaros of Heliopolis (son 
Psammetichus III) and Amyrtaeus of Sais. The former became a I 
endary 'crusader 7 in later folklore, recorded in several damaged detne: 
papyri; the latter's grandson was to be the sole king of the 2 
Dynasty. Despite initial successes with the aid of Greek allies, 
Egyptians were defeated and Inaros executed in 454 bc. Relative 
quillity then ensued for the next 30 years and the reign of Artaxerx. - 
465-424, left little mark in Egypt. 

Revolt broke out again with the advent of Darius II (423-405 e 
although he did endeavour to woo the nationalistic elements by sele 
ed building works. The trouble spots were still concentrated round t] 
Delta families, Sais being a particular centre (much as el-Kab had bo 
centuries before, in the Second Intermediate Period). The Egypt: 
relied heavily on Greek mercenaries and, curiously, centuries later I 
Athenians were to recognize Sais as being particularly associated wi 
Athene (an Athene of Sais even appeared on the nome coina>;. 
Roman times). The Egyptians were able to take advantage of the :r 
derous internal family problems of the Achaemenid royal house 
maintain a quasi-independence during the reigns of the last two Pei 
kings, Darius II and Artaxerxes II (405-359 bc). 






second Persi 



..28 DYNAS 


Amyrtaeus to Darius III 201 

la ai 



no cartouche Amyrtaeus 






Nefaarud I 
(Nepherites I) 

Baenre Merynetjeru 


ra s^£ 




e \m 




© ffi s J 








Second Persian Period) 

(Nectanebo I) 








id the 


no cartouche 

no cartouche 

Artaxerxes III 




cr the 

i mni 

ft and 

STY 30 








(Nectanebo II) 



Darius III 







202 The Late Period 

With the death of Darius II in 405, Amyrtaeus Prince of Sais, who had 
been fighting a guerrilla action against the Persians for at least six years, 
declared himself king. Somehow he managed to assert his authority as 
far south as the old Egyptian border at Aswan, but he is otherwise virtu- 
ally unknown and was the sole king of the 28th Dynasty. In the next 
dynasty, founded by Nepherites I (Nefaarud I), the northern Delta capi- 
tal moved from Sais to the more centrally placed Mendes, indicating 
perhaps a stronger royal line arising from that city and the ousting of 
the previous one. To strengthen his claim and position, Nepherites I, 
like many before him, cast backwards to underline his legitimacy, asso- 
ciating himself with the Saite Renaissance policies. Certainly there is 
far more evidence of building work and inscriptions in Egypt during his 
reign, largely located in the northern sphere, than during those of his 
immediate predecessors. He also maintained the cult of the sacred Apis 
bull at Memphis and is recorded in a Serapeum inscription. As the capi- 
tal was at Mendes the presumption was that Nepherites was buried 
there, but no royal tombs had been found until it was located in late 
1995. The torso of a glazed composition ushabti inscribed for him was 
found in a plundered sarcophagus at Mendes, and the other three exam- 
ples of his ushabtis (one complete but repaired, and two upper halves 
have no known provenances. 

fc. ^ 

[Left] Ushabtis of Nepherites I [above] 
and Achoris [below). Both are inscribed 
with Chapter 6 of the Book of the Dead 
and their distinctive features may well 
be portraits of their respective owners. 
Louvre, Paris. 

[Right] A bronze kneeling statue of a 
king that has been identified as Achoris 
from the indistinct hieroglyphs on his 
belt. Nelson- Atkins Museum. Kansas. 

Detail of a b. 
showing Neci 
making an or: 

No hieroglyph 
writing extant 


Birth name 
Nef-aa-rud ('Tl 
Great Ones 

Also known as 
Nepherites I 

Throne name 
Ba-en-re Men 
netjeru ('Sou 
Beloved of th 


Birth name 

Also known as 

Achoris (Gree- 
Throne name 

Maat-ib-re ('Ju 

is the Heart c 


Birth name 
('Strong in His 

Also known as 
Nectanebo I (( 

Throne name 
Kheper-ka-re ( 
Soul of Re Abi 

Amyrtaeus to Darius III 203 

^. K mmmsm»Mi,4 

Detail of a basalt relief from Alexandria 
showing Nectanebo I kneeling and 
making an offering. British Museum. 




No hieroglyphic 

Birth name + (epithet) 

writing extant of his 

Djed-hor (setep-en- 


inhur) ('Horus Says 

[he will live], 


Chosen of Onuris') 

Birth name 

Also known as 

Nef-aa-md (The 

Teos (Greek) 

Great Ones 

Throne name 



Also known as 

('Carrying out the 

Nepherites 1 

Justice of Re') 

Throne name 

Ba-en-re Mery- 


netjeru ('Soul of Re, 

Birth name + [epithet) 

Beloved of the 





('Strong is His Lord 


Horus, Beloved of 



Also known as 

Birth name 

Nectanebo II 



1 Also known as 

Throne name 

i Achoris (Greek) 


Throne name 


Maat-ib-re ('Justice 

('Pleasing to the 

is the Heart of Re') 

Heart of Re, 

Chosen of Onuris') 


Birth name 



Birth name 

('Strong in His 



Also known as 


Nectanebo 1 (Greek) 

Birth name 

■ Throne name 


Kheper-ka-re (The 

Soul of Re Abides') 


Birth name 


For about a year after the death of Nepherites (in 393) there was con- 
fusion, his son and a usurper, Psammuthis, struggling for power. Both 
were overcome by an unrelated man, Achoris (Hakor) who disregarded 
their year and dated the start of his own reign from the death of 
Nepherites. Achoris too was concerned to present legitimate continuity 
and associated himself with Nepherites in such a blatant way on his 
monuments, naming his son after him into the bargain, that he must 
have been trying to consolidate a relationship that had no factual basis. 
Nevertheless, Achoris 7 14-year reign stands out amongst those of the 
later kings as one in which an enormous amount of building and refur- 
bishing took place. Achoris took more than a hand in Near Eastern poli- 
tics as well. The Greeks, initially the Spartans and then the Athenians, 
were the main protagonists in the struggles against Persia,- by compari- 
son, Egypt was merely a flea bite in the Persian arm. Achoris concluded 
a treaty with Athens in 389, but it lasted only three years in the face of 
internal squabbling amongst the Greeks which was settled by the 
Persian king Artaxerxes IPs edict of 386, giving him the cities of Asia 
Minor and Cyprus and declaring the other Greek cities (with a few 
exceptions) autonomous, so long as they did not make war on him. The 
Greeks had been quietened and Egypt was isolated, thus attracting the 
attentions of Persia. Achoris repulsed several attacks between 385 and 
383, largely with the use of renegade Greeks in the now considerably 
strengthened Egyptian navy, and Persia turned away and moved against 

Achoris died in 380 but his son did not succeed him, being ousted by 
Nectanebo I (Nakhtnebef) of Sebennytos who founded the 30th 
Dynasty. A combined Persian and Greek force entered Egypt from the 
western (Mendes) side of the Delta, bypassing the strongly fortified and 
usual access through the eastern Delta fortress of Pelusium. Fortunately 
for Nectanebo, after being defeated, the strange allies delayed in their 
march on Memphis, distrusting each other, which gave him time to 
regroup, launch a successful counter-attack and fling them out of Egypt. 
Local conditions played a big part in his success - the inundation gave 
the Egyptians the advantage in a flooded landscape they knew well. 

Nectanebo I achieved much in his stable 18 -year reign, restoring 
dilapidated temples throughout the land and, in particular, erecting the 
small kiosk on the sacred island of Philae that was to blossom into one 
of the most sacred and delightful sites of later Egypt. He was succeeded 
by his son, Teos (Djedhor) (by his wife Udjashu), who immediately 
began to move against Persia, supported by Greek mercenaries, and hop- 
ing to gain Syria. Because of heavy tax impositions to pay for the merce- 
naries, Teos was unpopular in Egypt. In his absence Teos 7 son 
Tjahepimu declared his own son (i.e. Teos 7 grandson) king as Nectanebo 
II (Nakhthoreb) and Teos fled to sanctuary at Susa after a short two-year 

The first eight years of Nectanebo IPs reign were protected from 
Persian aggression by that country 7 s own dynastic squabbles and conse- 

204 The Late Period 

Paying the Greek 

The Greek mercenaries employed in 
Egypt had to be paid, although Egypt 
was not at this time a monetary 
society. Special gold staters seem to 
have been struck (probably at the only 
recently identified mint of Memphis) 
to pay the Greeks. A unique example 
from the reign of Teos is a small gold 
stater found at Memphis that copies 
the Athenian coin-types with obverse 
the head of Athene and reverse an 
owl, but it has the king's name in 
place of the usual AGE for Athens. 
Gold staters from the time of 
Nectanebo II had a different design. 

One side bore a device the Greeks 
could identify with - a prancing horse; 
the reverse had two hieroglyphic signs 
reading nfr nb - 'good gold'. Less than 
three dozen examples are known and, 

strangely, many have provenances 
from south of Aswan down to Abu 
Simbel where, of course, occurs the 
Greek graffiti referring to mercenaries 
marching south (p. 196). 

Athenian gold stater compared with the stater of Teos that copies it. British Museum. 

[Below] A diminutive Nectanebo II is 
sheltered by an impressive Horus falcon, 
the statue itself being a rebus of the 
king's name, 'Strong is His Lord Horus'. 
Metropolitan Museum, New York. 

quent problems. By 350 bc, however, the new Persian ruler Artaxc 
III had sufficiently re-established authority over most of the emp: 
contemplate attacking Egypt - but the expedition failed. Word of 
spread and soon Greek and Levantine cities were once more milit 
challenging the Persian might, at first with a degree of success. 

Nectanebo IPs reign is characterized by a definite return to tru 
values and stability brought by the gods. Temples were built or r 
bished and the king was presented as the pious one under the gods' 
tection. This is well exemplified in a superb large stone statue :r 
Metropolitan Museum, New York of Horus the falcon, wearing 
Double Crown. Between its legs it has a diminutive figure of Nectai 
wearing the nemes headdress and carrying a curved harpesh and a 
shrine. Not only is it a striking statue, it is also an icon reflecting 
age-old clash between Horus (i.e. good, the king and Egypt) and 
(evil and Persia). Not least, it is also a clever pun or rebus since it • 
bolizes the king's name as 'Strong [the harpesh] is Horus of Behbeit 
shrine] 7 , the latter being a temple, now much ruined, dedicated : 
goddess Isis in that Delta city. 

Greek mercenaries fought for both Egypt and Persia and it wa:* 
some 20,000 Greeks, forming about one-fifth of his armv 
Nectanebo II stood at Pelusium, the eastern Delta fortress entrant 
Egypt, in 343 bc against the latest Persian advance. Greek genera' 
on the Persian side outflanked the Egyptians; Pelusium fell, follow . 
other Delta strongpoints, and Memphis itself soon afterwards, t 
Nectanebo to take refuge in Nubia. Persian rule was establish*: 
Egypt once more. 

What became of Nectanebo II is unknown. A splendid large and ( 
plete faience ushabti figure of the king (unprovenanced, acquire 
Turin Museum in the 19th century), plus ten other known fragir 
are all that remains and point to preparations being made for hi- 

Amyrtaeus to Darius III 205 

burial, presumably at Sais. His tomb was probably destroyed under the 
Ptolemies. In the British Museum is a huge black granite sarcophagus, 
finely carved all over with texts and scenes from the Book of What is in 
the Underworld, inscribed for Nectanebo II. It was never used and was 
found in Alexandria where, having had holes cut through its lower 
walls into the interior, it was later employed as a bath, often called 
'Alexander's bath 7 . Curiously, in medieval legend (recounted in the 
'Alexander Romance' ), Nectanebo is said to have fled to the 
Macedonian court (i.e. to the anti-Persian faction). There he was recog- 
nized as a great Egyptian magician, attracted the attentions of the 
Macedonian king's (Philip IPs) wife Olympias and became the father - 
unbeknown to Philip II - of Alexander the Great, thus continuing in due 
course the pharaoh-bred line legend for Alexander. 


iRight) Silver tetradrachm that copies 
the Athena head and owl of Athens 
[opposite, above) but with a demotic 
inscription on the reverse showing it to 
have been struck by Artaxerxes III, 
presumably at the Memphis mint. 
British Museum. 

The Second Persian Period 

When Egypt fell to the Persians in 343 bc ; the reign of Nectanebo II, the 
last Egyptian pharaoh, came to an end; he was also the last Egyptian to 
rule Egypt for 2300 years until General Neguib and the 1952 
Revolution. The Persian reaction, according to later Greek accounts 
which are obviously biased, was severe. Cities were slighted, temple 
treasuries robbed, sacred animals such as the Apis, Mnevis and Buchis 
bulls were slain, and the people enslaved with taxes. Once more a 
Persian satrap (this time Pherdates) ruled for an absentee king in Susa. 

Whereas the first Persian dynasty had lasted from 525 until 404 bc, 
this time the occupation was for only a decade. Artaxerxes III was poi- 
soned in Persia in 338 and his young successor, Arses, survived for only 
two years, to be murdered and succeeded by Darius III. There is little 
evidence of this period of Persian hegemony in Egypt. Artaxerxes struck 
Athenian-style silver tetradrachms at Memphis with an inscription in 
demotic (a cursive and difficult- to-read script derived from hieroglyphs) 
giving his name, and only two specimens survive. Mazaeus, who was 
satrap under Darius III, struck similar copies of Athenian tetradrachms 
but with his own name on them in Aramaic. He it was who wisely 
opened the gates of Egypt to Alexander the Great in 323 bc, saving the 
country and his own skin, and was transferred to high office in Babylon. 

206 The Graeco-Roman Period 




Alexander the Great 
(Alexander III) 

Meryamun Setepenre 




HsMe^l ^ nn iP Arrhidaeus 

Meryamun Setepenre 


Alexander IV 

Haaibre Setepenamun 




Posthumous portrait of Alexander the 
Great with the ram's horn of Amnion, 
adopted after his visit to the god's 
temple at Siwa. Silver tetradrachm of 
Lysimachus, 323-281 bc. 



Throne name 

Birth name 

Mery-amun Setep- 


en-re ('Beloved of 

Also known as 

Amun, Chosen by 

Alexander the Great 


Throne name 

Mery-amun Setep- 


en-re ('Beloved of 

Birth name 

Amun, Chosen by 



Throne name 


Haa-ib-re Setep-en- 

?Alexandria, Egypt 

amun ('Jubilant is 

the Heart of Re, 


Chosen of Amun') 

Birth name 

Philip Arrhidaeus 

When Philip II was assassinated in Macedonia in 336 bc, his 20-year-old 
son Alexander took up his father's intended attack on the crumbling 
Persian empire. Marching and fighting southwards over the next few 
years, and onwards through Asia Minor and the Levant, Alexander deci- 
sively defeated Darius III at Issus in 333 and entered Egypt in 332. 
Making his way to the oracle of Amnion in the Oasis of Siwa, he wa> 
hailed as the god's son, pharaoh incarnate. The Egyptians looked upon 
him as a divine being and saviour. At the mouth of the Nile he founded 
Alexandria, the first, and greatest, of the many cities that were to bear 
his name. Although his sojourn in Egypt was short, his influence wa^- 
immense and lasting. On his orders restorations and repairs were car- 
ried out at the temples devastated in the Persian attack of 343. At Luxor 
temple the holy of holies was rebuilt and the best reliefs of Alexander in 
Egypt, carved on its outer walls, show him offering to Amun-Min. Egyp: 
was now truly part of a much wider Mediterranean world of culture ar 
religion, and could no longer hide within the sheltering cliffs of the Nile 

From Egypt Alexander moved into Asia where, in an extraordinarv 
series of campaigns, he overcame first Babylon and then Susa and 
Persepolis. Within just a few years he had extended his empire all the 

[Below] A 
libation t 
Min on a 









Alexander the Great to Alexander IV 207 

[Below] Alexander the Great offers a 
libation to the ithyphallic god Amun- 
Min on a relief on the outer wall of the 
sanctuary in the temple of Amun at 

way to the Indus River. Alexander died of fever in Babylon in 323 bc and 
was succeeded by his half-witted half-brother Philip Arrhidaeus. Philip 
left a relief on the outside wall of the granite central shrine at Karnak, of 
the priests of Amun carrying the sacred barque of the god on their 
shoulders. He was murdered in 317. Alexander's posthumous son by his 
Persian wife Roxane, who became Alexander IV, was similarly 
despatched, together with his mother, in 311 bc by Cassander, now 
General of Europe. Although he was dead, Alexander IV is listed as 
nominally ruling from 317 to 305 bc, but it was Ptolemy son of Lagus 
who was the de facto king. 

$m^Smm^%. ^mmm^fWsit Mil's '7llii:l§ s ■■£■ v i ' 

, ., ^ ^^ * ■^m^.^^-^mm^.mi^m^'■■K■ 
... - -, r 

I ll* f 


208 The Graeco-Roman Period 


305-30 bc 




Ptolemy I (^MWfM 






( Philadelphia 





a q 





Ptolemy III 
(Euergetes I) 

Iwaennet j erwysenwy 




Ptolemy IV 

Setepptah Userta 


Ptolemy V 

Setepptah Userkar 


" D A^MPl Ptolemy VI 



is. □ 





180-164, 163-145 


Throne t 
Lisa • 

•re - 

5r : .-: .t i 
Throne nan 

Gold stater of Ptolemy I with the deified 
Alexander the Great on the reverse. 

When Alexander left Egypt to conquer the rest of the known wor 
left the Persian infrastructure in place and appointed as the satrap 
Cleomenes, a banker of Naucratis. This post was next taken o\\-: 
Ptolemy I, the son of Lagus - Alexander's boyhood friend at Pella •• 
later became one of his trusted generals. When Alexander died in ; 
Ptolemy acted, nominally at least, as satrap for Alexander's two sue c 
sors in Egypt. Cleomenes, in Alexander's name, had extorted m 
from the people, robbed temples and, worse, embezzled the sok: 
pay. Ptolemy had little option when he found out but to try, sente: 
and execute him. 








Ptolemy I to VI 209 











world, he 
it rap one 
i over by 
fella who 
d in 323, 
o succes- 
d money 



Benificent Gods, 

Birth name (l-VI) 

Chosen of Ptah, 


Powerful is the Soul 

Throne name (1) 

of Re, Living Image 

Mery-amun Setep- 

of Amun') 

en-re ('Beloved of 

Throne name (V) 

Amun, Chosen of 



merwyitu Setep- 

Throne name (II) 

ptah User-ka-re 

User-ka-en-re Mery- 


amun ('Powerful is 

('Heir of the [two] 

the Soul of Re, 

Father-loving Gods, 

Beloved of Amun') 

Chosen of Ptah, 

Throne name (III) 

Powerful is the Soul 


of Re, Living Image 

senwy Sekhem- 

of Amun') 

ankh-re Setep-amun 

Throne name (VI) 

('Heir of the Twin 


Gods, Chosen of 



khepri Ir-maat-en- 

Throne name (IV) 

amun-re ('Heir of 


the [two] Houses of 

menkhwy Setep- 

the Gods, Chosen 

ptah User-ka-re 

of Ptah, Truth is the 


Form of Amun-Re') 

('Heir of the [two] 

With the break-up of Alexander's empire and no strong and obvious 
heir his generals, known as the diadochi ( 'followers 7 ), pursued their 
independent interests. Ptolemy moved to Egypt, answerable in name 
only to the Council of State that had been set up in Babylon after 
Alexander's death, and to Perdiccas, the regent who held Alexander's 
signet ring. 

At Babylon, Alexander's body had been prepared for the long journey 
back to Vergina, the royal burial ground in Macedonia, where Philip II's 
tomb has been found in recent years. On the journey, at Damascus, 
Ptolemy made his most astute move: he kidnapped the body on the pre- 
text that Alexander had wanted to be buried in the shrine of Ammon at 
Siwa. The body was taken first to Memphis - where, nine years earlier, 
Alexander had been crowned pharaoh - pending the completion of the 
Siwa tomb. In the event the tomb was built at Alexandria. According to 
Strabo it was located in the area of the royal palaces known as the 
'Sema'. Although Octavian/ Augustus visited the tomb, it has never 
been found and the site is now probably under the sea, the coastline 
having shifted since then. 

With Alexander's body under his control, Ptolemy had an immense 
political and religious advantage, and Perdiccas realized this. In the 
spring of 321 bc he marched against Ptolemy with an army of 5000 cav- 
alry and 20,000 infantry, but was repulsed near Memphis and then mur- 
dered by his own officers. 

The diadochi continued to war amongst themselves, although 
Antigonus Gonatus, Commander-in-Chief of the Grand Army, endeav- 
oured to keep them under control by a firm policy of repression, replace- 
ment and execution where necessary. To ward him off three of the 
diadochi, Ptolemy, Lysimachus and Cassander, entered into an uneasy 
alliance that was to pay handsome dividends. When Antigonus prepared 
to attack Cassander in Macedon, Ptolemy marched against Antigonus' 
son Demetrius Poliorcetes and defeated him at Gaza in 312. A peace 
treaty the following year confirmed Ptolemy as satrap in Egypt. 

Wars amongst the diadochi continued. Ptolemy lost the sea battle of 
Salamis in Cyprus against Demetrius in 306 bc but held Antigonus back 
on land the same year at Gaza. At the battle of Ipsus in 301 Antigonus 
was killed and the three allies divided the spoils of empire between 
them. Ptolemy added Palestine and lower Syria to his Egyptian empire 
and under his rule they prospered. 

Ptolemy had secured his link back to the pharaonic line by marrying 
a daughter of Nectanebo II, but she had been set aside in 320 for 















210 The Graeco-Roman Period 

The Marriages oe 
Ptolemy II 

The fortunes and possessions of the 
Ptolemies in the Mediterranean world 
swayed back and forth, some being 
more adept than others in the mili- 
tary game of chess. Their family his- 
tory is so complex that it reads like 
exaggerated pulp fiction. 

Ptolemy II, Philadelphus, made a 
dynastic marriage with Arsinoe, 
daughter of the powerful Lysimachus 
of Thrace, one of Alexander's fore- 
most generals. They had three chil- 
dren: the eldest son was Ptolemy 
Euergetes (later Ptolemy 111); the sec- 
ond was called Lysimachus for his 
grandfather; and the third, a daughter 
named Berenice, was to marry 
Antiochus II of Syria in 252. About 
279 bc, rumours of treason associat- 
ed with Queen Arsinoe's name led to 
her being banished with her children 
to Coptos in southern Egypt. In her 
place, Ptolemy married his sister, 
also Arsinoe. She had been married, 
as a girl of 17, to Lysimachus of 
Thrace, but he was killed at the bat- 
tie of Korupedion in 281. The brother- 
sister, husband-wife relationship of 
earlier Egypt and of the legends (e,g 
Isis and Osiris) was thus continued. 
Queen Arsinoe II reigned for about 
seven years during her husband 
Ptolemy ll's 38-year reign. She 
enjoyed great influence and took her 
namesake's three children into her 
care. After her death, the king deified 
her and dedicated temples in her 

Portrait statues of Ptolemy II and Arsinoe 
II. Vatican Museum. 

Eurydice, daughter of Antipater, Regent of Macedon. By her Ptolemy 
had four children, and then another three by Berenice, a widowed lady- 
in-waiting to Eurydice, who had already borne three children (one of 
whom, Magus, was later to become king of Cyrenaica). 

The Ptolemies were monarchs in the great outside world of 
Hellenistic rulers whilst in Egypt they continued the line of god-kings, 
paying lip service to the prominent priesthood that, with an excellent 
civil service, kept the country stable and prosperous. The Ptolemies, 
and also many of their queens, appeared on the coinage portrayed in fine 
Hellenistic royal style,- at the same time, in Egypt, they appeared on 
temple reliefs with full pharaonic trappings, essentially in the old styles 
tempered by Mediterranean artistic influences of more rounded limbs 
and fleshier bodies. Generally, only the cartouches make it possible to 
identify them individually, so bland are the representations on the 
reliefs. Problems arise with some reliefs where the cartouches were left 
empty of a name, there being uncertainty as to who would be on the 
throne at completion. 

During Ptolemy I's reign were laid the beginnings of the many vast 
building projects of temples and towns that were to follow throughout 
the Ptolemaic dynasty. Chief amongst them was the Pharos (lighthouse 1 
of Alexandria, actually completed in Ptolemy IPs reign, that became 
one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, and the Library that 
became one of the great centres of learning. The finest extant temples in 
Egypt are all of the Ptolemaic period - Dendera, Edfu and Philae - and 
many of them, like European cathedrals, were added to and embellished 
by several rulers over a long period. Most of these temples seem to have 
been built exactly over the sites of earlier structures, which makes it 
extremely difficult to ascertain their previous building history. 

In 285 Ptolemy I took as co-ruler one of his sons by Berenice, wh<. 
became sole ruler as Ptolemy II Philadelphus on his father's death m 
282. His was a successful reign which saw the expansion of Ptolemaic 
possessions around the Mediterranean and internal stability in Egypt. 

Ptolemy III Euergetes had been brought up by his stepmother 
Arsinoe II (see box), and succeeded to the throne at the age of 30. He 
married Berenice, the daughter of his half -uncle Magus, king of 
Cyrenaica. Shortly after taking the throne, Ptolemy was called to the 
support of his sister Berenice, wife of Antiochus II, in Syria. Court 
intrigues there by the king's first wife, Laodice, had led to his death by 
poisoning and, before Ptolemy could reach Antioch, the death of his sis 
ter Berenice and her son, his young nephew. 

Ptolemy sacked Antioch in revenge for their deaths and then contin- 
ued campaiging into Babylonia for the next five years, leaving his wife. 
Berenice, as head of state with a panel of advisors. When trouble erupted 
in Egypt he returned rapidly to put down the dissidents. Ptolemy III 
began building the great temple dedicated to Horus at Edfu in the tenth 
year of his reign (237) but the main structure was not finished until 231 
bc, in the reign of his son. The temple was formally opened in 142 und^ 

Ptolemy I to VI 211 

Black diorite statue of Ptolemy IV or V. 
Without an identifying inscription it is 
often difficult firmly to attribute later 
Ptolemaic royal portraits. Yale 
University Art Gallery. 

Ptolemy VIII, although the reliefs on the great pylon had to wait until 
Ptolemy XII to be completed. 

Like his father, Ptolemy IIFs reign of 25 years saw Egypt prosper and 
expand and he was succeeded by his eldest son, Ptolemy IV Philopator 
in 222 bc. Unlike his ancestors, this Ptolemy led a dissolute life, aided 
and abetted by Sosibius, an Alexandrian Greek who had ingratiated 
himself into high office and made sure that he was indispensable. 
Acting on a wild rumour that Sosibius may well have started, Ptolemy 
agreed to have his mother Berenice and his brother Magus respectively 
poisoned and scalded to death within a year of his accession. There was 
one military excursion during Ptolemy IV ; s reign when Antiochus III of 
Syria, led to believe that Egypt would be easy prey under its dissolute 
monarch, moved through Phoenicia taking Egyptian vassal cities. 
Fortunately for Ptolemy, Antiochus held back from the fortress city of 
Pelusium, which could not have withstood him, and agreed to a four- 
month truce that Ptolemy, with Sosibius 7 aid, used to recruit foreign 
mercenaries and train an Egyptian levy army. At the battle of Raphia in 
217 Ptolemy triumphed over Antiochus, but the Egyptian recruits had 
realized their own strength and there were revolts in the Delta. 

Ptolemy IV married his sister Arsinoe in 217, and she produced an 
heir seven years later. The king then turned his affections to another 
woman, Agathoclea, who, with her brother Agathocles, encouraged his 
excesses. They were probably the cause of his death at the age of 41, 
leaving his sister-wife Arsinoe, who was soon poisoned by Sosibius and 
Agathocles, and his young son who became Ptolemy V Epiphanes. The 
conspirators then appointed themselves the five-year-old king's 
guardians, but suspicion about the events had been aroused. Matters 
came to a head when the popular general Tlepolemus, who held Egypt's 
eastern frontier fortress Pelusium, rescued the king and the mob broke 
into the royal palace at Alexandria and lynched Agathocles and his sis- 
ter Agathoclea. 

The map of Ptolemaic possessions and naval bases around the 
Mediterranean was shrinking as other rulers took advantage of Egypt's 
internal weaknesses to seize them. As an endeavour to settle the civil 
commotions, it was decided to crown the now 12-year-old Ptolemy V as 
king at the old capital of Memphis and make grants of land and tax 
remissions. Much of this is recorded in the decree of the priests of 
Memphis in 196 bc and inscribed in three scripts (hieroglyphs, demotic 
and Greek) on the Rosetta Stone found in 1799 (p. 10). 

An uneasy peace was made with Syria in 192 when Ptolemy V mar- 
ried Cleopatra (I), the daughter of Antiochus the Great. In the last 13 
years of his reign they had two sons and a daughter, of whom the elder 
boy became Ptolemy VI, Philometor, at roughly the same age as his 
father had become king. His mother acted as regent, but when she died 
five years later two greedy officials, Eulaeus and Lenaeus, appointed 
themselves guardians, much as had happened under the previous 
Ptolemy. They were foolish enough to declare war on Antiochus IV in 

212 The Graeco-Roman Period 

Silver tetradrachm portrait of Cleopatra 
I, Thea, the daughter of Ptolemy VI, 
who in a series of dynastic marriages 
was successively married to Alexander I 
Balas, Demetrius II and Antiochus VII, 
becoming the mother of Antiochus VIII 
of Syria. British Museum. 

170 and were soundly beaten near Pelusium. The young Ptolemy v. 
now Antiochus 7 prisoner and so the Egyptians declared Ptolemv - 
younger brother, also Ptolemy, and his sister Cleopatra, king and que^ 

The curious situation thus arose of there being two Ptolemies, broth- 
ers, both nominally declared rulers of Egypt. Both sides - the Egyptian? 
on behalf of the younger brother (Ptolemy Euergetes), and Antiochi - 
(holding Ptolemy Philometor, his own nephew) - appealed to Rome 
the major power for aid. The outcome was that Ptolemy Philome: 
ruled in the old capital of Memphis, and his younger brother Euergt: _ 
in Alexandria with his sister Cleopatra. 

Antiochus IV returned to Syria in 169, but he was still a dominan 
power in Egypt by virtue of his protection of Ptolemy VI, which wa? 
anathema to the brothers and sister alike. They, therefore, joined foi'L. - 
and appealed to Rome for help against Antiochus. Antiochus for his r 
marched to Pelusium, where he demanded control not only of this f 
tier fortress, but also Cyprus, an Egyptian possession. Both were denic 
him so he marched on Memphis and then turned north to AlexanJ 
At that moment Rome's hands were tied because of her involvement :: 
the Macedonian war with Perseus, but on 22 June 168, at the battL 
Pydna, Perseus was defeated. Rome was now free to respond to : 
Ptolemaic plea and a three-man mission sailed for Alexandria, led b 
Caius Popilius Laenas. 

The confrontation between the Senate's representatives an 
Antiochus IV took place in July outside Alexandria at Eleusis. 1 
Senate's decree was that Antiochus should vacate Egypt and Cypn 
immediately. He asked for time to consider. Popilius refused and, 
ing his stick and drawing a circle in the sand around Antiochus' 
demanded his answer before he left the circle. Antiochus realized : 
Rome was now the major state in the Mediterranean,- he had no op: 
but to comply with the Senate's demand. Ptolemy VI was confirmed j 
ruler in Egypt and his younger brother, Euergetes, was made kir_ 

The next quarter- century of Ptolemy VI's reign passed quietly v 
Egypt prospering. In 145, however, he was mortally wounded in batt 
in Syria, where he had gone in support of his daughter, Cleopatra T 
who was married to the dissolute Alexander Balas (150-146 
Alexander was to be removed (and subsequently beheaded by his 
soldiers) and Demetrius II became king, similarly marrying Cleopati 


Ptolemy VII 











Ptolemy VII to XV 213 


305-30 bc 


■st a% &—, -<s>-n 



^s— n - 


tij 1 — N -<S2>- 

no cartouche PtoleHiy ( g£lJg^PfeW 



■ I, — o ^ ^ 


no cartouche 

VJD Ptolemy VIII 
(Euergetes II) 


Ptolemy IX 



Je^l<^ ' 

Ptolemy X 

gJ3I^SHS IB (Alexander I) 


no cartouche 

Ptolemy XI 
(Alexander II 


Ptolemy XII 

(Neos Dionysos) 

Iwaenpanet j ernehem 
Setepptah Irmaat 


Berenice IV 


Cleopatra VII 


Q Ptolemy XV 










of Her Father') 

Birth name 



Throne name (XII) 

Birth name 



nehem Setep-ptah 

Throne name 

Ir-maat ('Heir of the 


God that Saves, 

entynehem Setep- 

Chosen of Ptah, in 

en-ptah Ir-maat-en- 

the form of Truth') 

re Sekhem-ankh- 

amun ('Heir of the 


God that Saves, 

Birth name + (epithet) 

Chosen of Ptah, 

Cleopatra (netjeret 

Carrying out the 


Rule of Re, Living 

('Goddess, Beloved 

Image of Amun') 

Ptolemy XI (Alexander II) 


The widowed Cleopatra was left in Alexandria with the young heir, 
Ptolemy VII Neos Philopator, and little protection since her late hus- 
band's army, largely composed of mercenaries, had joined Demetrius II 
in Syria. Ptolemy Euergetes, king of Cyrenaica, saw his chance and 
returned to Egypt, driving the queen and heir to take refuge in 
Memphis. A reconciliation was arranged and Euergetes married his sis- 
ter Cleopatra, she agreeing to the match to protect her son's interests. 
However, as soon as she produced an heir for Euergetes, he had Ptolemy 
VII, his stepson and nephew, killed. 

Ptolemy VIII Euergetes II, repulsive and nicknamed 'physon' (pot- 
belly), was captivated by his niece, also Cleopatra, the daughter of his 











30 20 


214 The Graeco-Roman Period 

Black diorite head of Ptolemy VIII. 
Brussels Museum. 

Two clay sealings from Edfu with 
portraits of Ptolemy IX [top] and 
Ptolemy X [above] . Royal Ontario 

sister-wife Cleopatra. The niece agreed to the liaison so long as she 
could also become queen - so mother and daughter, sister and niece of 
Euergetes, became joint queens as Cleopatra II and III, generally differ- 
entiated as Cleopatra the Sister and Cleopatra the Wife. The former was 
much beloved by the people since her late husband Ptolemy VPs reign 
was such a shining example and memory compared to their present sit- 
uation. Public resentment against Ptolemy VIII grew to such a point 
that he fled to Cyprus, taking the younger Cleopatra (III, the Wife), their 

with him. His flight was not a moment too soon, for the mob broke into 
the palace seeking his blood. 

In Cyprus, Euergetes plotted his return to Egypt where his sister, 
Cleopatra II, reigned as Cleopatra Philometor Soteira. In a fit of mania- 
cal revenge against his sister and the Alexandrian mob which had been 
busy destroying his statues and memories of him, he murdered 
Memphites, his own son by Cleopatra II, and sent the child's dismem- 
bered body to hex as a present on net birthday . 

In 129, now strong enough to invade Egypt, Euergetes returned from 

Cleopatra Thea, now married to Demetrius II of Syria. Strangely, she 
was to return to Egypt, and Euergetes survived until 116. What hap- 

she presumably predeceased him as her daughter, Cleopatra III, inherit- 
ed Egypt by Euergetes' will. 

Cleopatra III, now queen-mother and regent for her two young sons, 
soon proved that she was as strong-willed as any of her ancestors. 
Although the younger son, Ptolemy X Alexander I, was her favourite 
the two boys had, by popular pressure, to be seen to rule jointly with her 
so the elder, Ptolemy IX Soter II, was associated with them. He began 
building the temple of Hathor at Dendera, to which many of his succes- 
sors added, including Cleopatra VII (below) and several of the Roman 
emperors. In 106 bc Ptolemy IX, whose nickname was 'lathyrus' (chick- 
pea), fled to Cyprus because he had been accused of plotting to murder 
his mother. Since Cleopatra had always favoured Ptolemy Alexander 
there is a strong possibility that the charge was false in an attempt to 
dispose of Ptolemy Soter. Cleopatra took her younger son, Ptolemy 
Alexander, to be her consort, and he may well have had a hand in her 
death at the age of 60 in 101 bc. 

Ptolemy X practised the gross excesses of his immediate forebears 
and was so huge that he was incapable of walking on his own without 
support. As with Ptolemy VIII, the Egyptians eventually turned against 
him ; he fled but was killed at sea between Lycia and Cyprus. The older 
brother, Ptolemy IX, was therefore able to return and claim his throne 
dying in 80 bc aged 62. 

Ptolemy IX had no legitimate male heir so he left the throne to hi- 
daughter Berenice. She needed to have a male consort and a nephew 
Ptolemy XI Alexander II, was found to marry her,- but Ptolemy disliked 

Black bas. 


limseli si 

214 The Graeco-Roman Period 

Black diorite head of Ptolemy VIII. 
Brussels Museum. 

Two clay sealings from Edfu with 
portraits of Ptolemy IX [top] and 
Ptolemy X [above). Royal Ontario 

sister-wife Cleopatra. The niece agreed to the liaison so long as she 
could also become queen - so mother and daughter, sister and niece of 
Euergetes, became joint queens as Cleopatra II and III, generally differ- 
entiated as Cleopatra the Sister and Cleopatra the Wife. The former was 
much beloved by the people since her late husband Ptolemy VPs reign 
was such a shining example and memory compared to their present sit- 
uation. Public resentment against Ptolemy VIII grew to such a point 
that he fled to Cyprus, taking the younger Cleopatra (III, the Wife), their 
two children and the young boy Memphites (his son by Cleopatra II 
with him. His flight was not a moment too soon, for the mob broke into 
the palace seeking his blood. 

In Cyprus, Euergetes plotted his return to Egypt where his sister, 
Cleopatra II, reigned as Cleopatra Philometor Soteira. In a fit of mania- 
cal revenge against his sister and the Alexandrian mob which had been 
busy destroying his statues and memories of him, he murdered 
Memphites, his own son by Cleopatra II, and sent the child's dismem- 
bered body to her as a present on her birthday. 

In 129, now strong enough to invade Egypt, Euergetes returned from 
Cyprus and in 128 Cleopatra II fled for protection to her daughter 
Cleopatra Thea, now married to Demetrius II of Syria. Strangely, she 
was to return to Egypt, and Euergetes survived until 116. What hap- 
pened to his sister-wife Cleopatra II after her return is not known, but 
she presumably predeceased him as her daughter, Cleopatra III, inherit- 
ed Egypt by Euergetes' will. 

Cleopatra III, now queen-mother and regent for her two young son^ 
soon proved that she was as strong-willed as any of her ancestor 
Although the younger son, Ptolemy X Alexander I, was her favourite 
the two boys had, by popular pressure, to be seen to rule jointly with her 
so the elder, Ptolemy IX Soter II, was associated with them. He began 
building the temple of Hathor at Dendera, to which many of his succes- 
sors added, including Cleopatra VII (below) and several of the Roman 
emperors. In 106 bc Ptolemy IX, whose nickname was 'lathyrus' (chick- 
pea), fled to Cyprus because he had been accused of plotting to murde 
his mother. Since Cleopatra had always favoured Ptolemy Alexander 
there is a strong possibility that the charge was false in an attempt : 
dispose of Ptolemy Soter. Cleopatra took her younger son, Ptolemy 
Alexander, to be her consort, and he may well have had a hand in her 
death at the age of 60 in 101 bc. 

Ptolemy X practised the gross excesses of his immediate forebear 
and was so huge that he was incapable of walking on his own without 
support. As with Ptolemy VIII, the Egyptians eventually turned against 
him ; he fled but was killed at sea between Lycia and Cyprus. The oldi 
brother, Ptolemy IX, was therefore able to return and claim his thron^ 
dying in 80 bc aged 62. 

Ptolemy IX had no legitimate male heir so he left the throne to his 
daughter Berenice. She needed to have a male consort and a nephew 
Ptolemy XI Alexander II, was found to marry her ; but Ptolemy dislik e 

Ptolemy VII to XV 215 

Black basalt slab with Ptolemy XII 
adoring the god Heh who holds notched 
palm ribs signifying 'millions of years 7 
(cf. p. 80). Louvre, Paris. 

Berenice, who was older than him. Foolishly he decided to reign alone 
and had her murdered within a month of their wedding. However, the 
queen had been a popular choice with the people, and he was lynched 
after a 19-day reign. This left a royal vacuum on the throne again. The 
only male descendants of Ptolemy I available, albeit illegimate, were 
the sons of Ptolemy IX by an Alexandrian Greek concubine whose 
name is not even known. They were then living in safe exile at the 
court of Mithridates VI of Pontus at Sinope. The eldest of the boys was 
proclaimed king as Ptolemy XII Neos Dionysos and, to complete the 
royal pair, he married his sister Tryphaena. 

Rome was now the major factor in all Mediterranean politics and 
Ptolemy XII sought to legitimize his rule not only by an Egyptian coro- 
nation but also with Roman approval. Like his predecessors, his habits 
were not to the liking of the populace - he earned the nickname 
'auletes' (the flute player) - and his heavy taxes and fauning attitude to 
Rome made history repeat itself. He fled to Rome, driven out of the 
country by the people. 

Once more the throne of Egypt was vacant with only a female heir, 
Ptolemy XIPs daughter Berenice. She needed a male consort and was 
married to a Seleucid cousin. As strong-willed as her female forebears, 
she had him strangled within a week of their wedding and then took as 
her husband Archelaus, whom she knew as a friend from her exile at 
the court of Mithridates VI. They ruled for a brief period of four years 
whilst Ptolemy XII plotted in Rome to regain his throne. He needed two 
things initially to achieve this: recognition by the Roman Senate, and 
an army. A large bribe to Julius Caesar (underwritten from Egyptian rev- 
enues) secured the first, and a similar large bribe to the pro-consul of 
Syria, Gabinius, secured the use of his three legions. They marched on 
Alexandria and in the conflict Archelaus was killed, Berenice captured, 
imprisoned and then murdered. Ptolemy XII had returned but ruled 
Egypt only by virtue of the backing of the Roman legions. His second 
reign lasted just four years. History records that Ptolemy XII was nei- 
ther valiant nor religious, despite the fact that he is so represented in 
the reliefs he completed on the temple pylons at Edfu and Philae. 

[Right] The temple of Horus at Edfu is 
the finest preserved of Egyptian temples. 
It was begun under Ptolemy III in 237 
bc, added to by Ptolemy IV, VIII and IX, 
and the pylons finally decorated by 
Ptolemy XII in 57 bc with figures of 
himself smiting the enemy. 

216 The Graeco-Roman Period 

•f,2 V l $ 


(Aboye) Cleopatra VII presents her son, 
Caesarion, and offerings to the gods in a 
large-scale relief on the rear wall of the 
temple of Hathor at Dendera. 

[Below] Although there are some 
sculptures identified as Cleopatra, she is 
best seen on the coin portraits, 
particularly those issued at Antioch 
where she appears as a bejewelled 
eastern queen along with a portrait of 
Mark Antony, who was to take Caesar's 
place after the latter's assassination on 
the Ides of March in 44 BC. 

Cleopatra and the last of the 

Egypt was bequeathed to Ptolemy XII 
daughter, Cleopatra VII, aged 17, wit 

the injunction that she should marry I 
elder of her two brothers, Ptolemy XII 
He, with the aid of ever-scheming pala 
courtiers, this time Pothinus 
Achillas, attempted to dispose of I 
but she was warned in time and fled : 
safety in Syria. However, Cleopatra 
soon back with an army at the gate* 
Egypt at Pelusium where a star.; 
between her and her brother took r 
neither side being willing to mal 

Rome now entered the scene 
Julius Caesar pursuing his der\. 
adversary Pompey after the battle 
Pharsalus in 48 bc. Pompey, scl 
sanctuary with Ptolemy XIII, Ian ; . 
Pelusium and was immediately c - 
nated by the conspirators Pothinu- 
Achillas, who were backing 
Caesarian faction. When Caesar arri 
at Alexandria, and was presented v 
Pompey's severed head, he had Pothi 
executed (Achillas met his death late 
the hands of Arsinoe, Cleopatra's younger sister). At Alexandria C. 
summoned the young king and queen before him. He favours . 
queen, Cleopatra, as history and so many plays and novels re*. 
Ptolemy, with Achillas, unsuccessfully besieged the Romans t v 
Pharos island and Ptolemy was drowned in the attack. 

In order to maintain the necessary dual rule on the throne, Cleoj 
now married her younger brother, Ptolemy XIV. She simultaiiL 
became Caesar's mistress and bore him a son, Ptolemy XV Cae* 
Cleopatra is shown in a relief on the rear wall of the temple of Ha:. 
Dendera presenting the young boy to the gods. It is the only relict 
in Egypt. Although her beauty has been fabled in literature, Cle 
was above all things a very clever, intelligent and political woman 
had to be to captivate two such men as Caesar and Antony in tur: 
endeavour to use them to maintain her kingdom. She was said to > 
only one of the Ptolemies who could understand and speak Egypi 
Egypt was now simply a rich pawn in the great struggle for power <a 
Caesar's death between Octavian, Caesar's heir, and Antony. It cv. 
a head at Actium on the west coast of Greece on the afterm 
2 September 31 bc. The sea battle swung first one way and thur 


Ptolemy VII to XV 217 

> y^S>. 

-Si^5 ^J^V'; -:;,--;,• | "• 

[Above] On the outer southern wall of 
the Ptolemaic and Roman temple at 
Esna, the 3000-year-old motif of pharaoh 
smiting (cf. p. 24) is repeated by the 
Roman emperor Titus, ad 79-8 1 . 

[Below] The reliefs on the Roman 
mam.rn.isi (birth house) beside the 
Ptolemaic temple at Dendera continue 
the ancient Egyptian iconography with, 
here, Trajan (ad 98-1 1 7) as pharaoh 
offering to Isis as she suckles her son 

other when, for some unaccountable reason - some say a mutiny, others 
say misunderstood orders - Antony broke off the engagement and sailed 
for the open sea after Cleopatra's ships and followed her to Egypt. 
Octavian was left master of the field. 

The following year Octavian took the fight to Egypt and entered 
Alexandria on 1 August 30 bc. Cleopatra, as is well known, committed 
suicide rather than be an ornament in a Roman triumph. Antony fell on 
his sword, and Octavian had them buried together in the royal mau- 
soleum in the Sema at Alexandria that Cleopatra had prepared. 

Roman Egypt 

Although Rome conquered Egypt with the defeat of Antony and 
Cleopatra, the country did not become a Roman province in the normal 
manner. Octavian (who became Augustus in 27 bc and the first emperor 
of Rome) took Egypt as his personal estate. It was ruled by a prefect, 
answerable to the emperor, and no member of the Imperial family or the 
Senate was allowed to visit the country without the express permission 
of Augustus. Egypt's production of vast quantities of grain was an 
important factor in the maintenance of stability in Rome - 'Give them 
[the mob] bread and circuses', Juvenal wrote, and Egypt provided the 
bread with the annual grain fleet that sailed from Alexandria . 

Successive Roman emperors after Augustus maintained the pharaon- 
ic fiction, appearing in Egyptian dress on reliefs or statues and carrying 
out the old rituals. Without the provision of an identifying cartouche 
they can rarely be recognized. From Augustus until the reform of the 
mint at Alexandria under Diocletian in ad 294 coinage was struck on 
the Greek module, mainly tetradrachms (four-drachm pieces) that bore 
the emperor's likeness as a Roman, an inscription identifying him 
around his head in Greek, and often with a reverse type that harked 
back to ancient Egyptian themes or deities. 

Roman Egypt was immensely prosperous and many new cities were 
founded, especially in the Faiyum area, with the classic Roman build- 
ings of baths, basilica and agora. Some temples were still built following 
the old plans; for example, Esna reflects the layout of the earlier 
Ptolemaic temple at Dendera and has several lst-century ad emperors 
represented in reliefs on its walls. One of the best known buildings in 
Egypt, Pharaoh's Bed or Trajan's Kiosk, on the island of Philae, was 
built by Trajan (ad 98-1 17) and was intended to be a grand monumental 
entrance to the temple of Isis, but it was never finished. On Philae 
occurs the latest known firmly datable hieroglyphic inscription, carved 
in ad 394. Pompey's Pillar at Alexandria has nothing to do with him but 
was erected in the reign of Diocletian (ad 284-305). Generally, however, 
Roman period monuments, apart from the sand-swept town sites, are 
few in Egypt. Although paying lip-service to the old ideas and religion, 
in varying degrees, pharaonic Egypt had in effect died with the last 
native pharaoh, Nectanebo II in 343 bc, a thousand years before the rise 
of Islam and the fall of Egypt under its sway in ad 641. 

218 The Five Royal Names of the Pharaohs 

The Five 
Royal Names 
of the Pharaohs 

From the Middle Kingdom, the 11th and 12th Dynasties, an Egyptian king was 
a unique combination of five names. The first was his actual birth name, the ot 
four were conferred on him at his enthronement. The sequence of the five nam 




III a ^ a 1 1 1 

tail 1 

et^lft \ © 


Accompanying Title 




Nebti or Two Ladies 


He of the Two Ladies 
(Wadjet and Nekhbet] 

Golden Horus 

Golden Horus 

Throne Name or Prenomen 


He of the Sedge and the Bee 
(King of Upper and Lower Egypt 

Birth Name or Nomen 


Son of Re 

To take an example, the five names of 
Tutankhamun are listed below, and read 
from right to left in the hieroglyphs: 

Horus Name 

Ka-nakht tut-mesut 

'Strong bull, fitting from created forms 7 

Nebti Name 

Nefer-hepu segereh-tawy sehetep- 

netjeiu nebu 

'Dynamic of laws, who calms the Two 

Lands, who propitiates all the gods' 

Golden Horus Name 
Wetjes-khau sehetep-netjeru 
'Who displays the regalia, who 
propitiates the gods 7 

Throne Name 

Nesu-bity: Nebkheperure 

King of Upper and Lower Egypt: Lord 

of Manifestations is Re 

Birth Name 

Sa-re: Tutankhamun (heqa-iunu-shema) 
Son of Re, Living Image of Amun, Ruler 
of Upper Egyptian Heliopolis 

Before the 4th Dynasty the king was 
generally known only by his Horus 
name. Written in a serekh panel (p. 21) 
it is easily identifiable by the Horus 
falcon standing on its top. The first 
occurrence of the serekh is on the 
Narmer Palette (p. 18) at the beginning 
of Egyptian history. During the 2nd 
Dynasty political troubles seem to have 
forced the king Sekhemib to change his 
name to Peribsen, thereby moving from 
the nominal protection of Horus to that 
of the god Seth (p. 27). The Horus falcon 
on the top of the serekh panel is 
supplanted by the Seth animal. 
Khasekhemwy, the next king, appears to 
have appeased both factions by having 
Horus and Seth above his serekh. 

Occasionally in the early dynasties the 
king might have secondary titles. The 
nebti sign of the Two Ladies is used by 
Hor-Aha in the 1st Dynasty, but not as 

part of his royal titles. The Two L. 
the cobra and vulture, are respectivcl 
the goddesses Wadjet of Buto in Lov 
Egypt (the Delta) and Nekhbet of 
Nekheb (el-Kab) in Upper Egypt. Lai 
in the dynasty Semerkhet includ - 
Two Ladies as part of his honorific^ 
it is not until the 12th Dynasty that 
nebti title became a standard par: 
five-fold sequence of names. 

The title He of the Sedge and of tf 
Bee (i.e. King of Upper and Lower E 
was first used by Den in the 1st 
Dynasty, and he also associated :: - 
Horus name with the sign for gold t 
necklace with pendants). The tlv 
of the royal titulary, the Golden r 
became standard with the Middle 

The best known and immediate 
recognition of a royal name is by 
enclosure in an oval cartouche 
(originating in a loop of rope with d 
ends). It was Snefru, first king of tr 
Dynasty, who introduced the us v. 
cartouche to enclose royal names ai 
the cartouche name thereafter 
supplanted the Horus name in 
identifying the king. A second car 
name was added in the 5th Dynasty 
Neferirkare, the first being his nam 
given on his accession to the thron 
prenomen), and the second conta: 
his birth name (nomen). Confusion 
between kings of the same name . 
arise when they share a common 
prenomen, e.g. Sobekhemsaf or 
Ramesses, and the second cart _ .. 
not present. 

Although the sequence of five :;.. 
or titles was a necessary requiremc 
the king, rarely are they actually - . 
used together except on the occa- 
his coronation. Of the five names, t 
most frequently used are the fr: - 
(Horus), fourth (throne) and fifth b 

Select Bibliography 219 


The following list is indicative of some 
of the main literature; the individual 
titles themselves contain further 
bibliographies (especially Grimal, 
pp. 404-83). 

Aldred, A. Akhenaten King of Egypt. 
London and New York 1988. 

- The Egyptians. Revised ed. London 
and New York 1984. 

- Jewels of the Pharaohs: Egyptian 
Jewellery of the Dynastic Period. 
London 1971. 

Andrews, C. Ancient Egyptian 

Jewellery. London and New York 

Bagnall, R.S. Egypt in Later Antiquity. 

Princeton 1993. 
Baines, J. and Malek, J. Atlas of Ancient 

Egypt. Oxford and New York 1980. 
Bowman, A.K. Egypt after the Pharaohs, 

332 BC-AD 642 from Alexander to the 

Arab Conquest. London 1986. 
Breasted, J.H. Ancient Records of Egypt. 

5 vols. New York 1906 (repr. 1962). 
Daressy, G. Cercueils des cachettes 

royales. Cat. Gen. du Musee du Caire, 

nos 61001-61044. Cairo 1909. 
David, R. and David, A.E. A 

Biographical Dictionary of Ancient 

Egypt. London 1992. 
Dodson, A. The Canopic Equipment of 

the Kings of Egypt. London 1994. 
Edwards, I.E.S. The Pyramids of Egypt. 

Revised ed. Harmondsworth and New 

York 1991. 
-, Gadd, C.J. and Hammond, N.G., eds. 

Cambridge Ancient History. I and II. 

Cambridge 1971, 1973. 
Emery, W.B. Archaic Egypt. 

Harmondsworth 1961. 
Gardiner, Sir Alan. Egypt of the 

Pharaohs. Oxford and New York 1961. 

- The Royal Canon of Turin. Oxford 

Gautier, H. Le Livre des Rois d'Egypte, 

Recueil des titres... 5 vols. Cairo 

Glanville, S.R.K. The Legacy of Egypt. 

2nd ed. edited by J.R. Harris. Oxford 

Grimal, N. A History of Ancient Egypt. 

Oxford and Cambridge, Mass. 1992. 
Habachi, L. The Obelisks of Egypt; 

Skyscrapers of the Past. London 1978. 
Hall, H.R. Catalogue of Egyptian 

Scarabs in the British Museum. I. 

Royal Scarabs. London 1913. 
Harris, J.E. and Wente, E.F., eds. An 

X-ray Atlas of the Royal Mummies. 

Chicago 1980. 
Hayes, W.C. Royal Sarcophagi of the 

XVIII Dynasty. Princeton 1935. 

- The Scepter of Egypt. 2 vols. New 
York 1953. 

Herodotus. The Histories. 
Harmondsworth 1972. 

Hodges, P. How the Pyramids Were 

Built. Shaftesbury 1989, Warminster 

Hornung, E. The Valley of the Kings: 

Horizon of Eternity. New York 1990. 
Josephus. Contra Apionem. London 


- Jewish Antiquities. London 1926-65. 
Kitchen, K. The Third Intermediate 

Period in Egypt (1100-650 BC). 

Warminster 1973. 
Lichtheim, M. Ancient Egyptian 

Literature. 3 vols. Berkeley, Calif. 

1973, 1976, 1980. 
Manetho (trans W.G. Waddell). London 

Mendelssohn, K. The Riddle of the 

Pyramids. London 1974, New York 

Murnane, W.J. Ancient Egyptian 

Coregencies. Chicago 1977. 

- The Penguin Guide to Ancient Egypt. 
Harmondsworth and New York 19§3. 

Peet, T.E. The Great Tomb Robberies of 
the Twentieth Egyptian Dynasty. 
2 vols. Oxford 1930. 

Petrie, W.M.F. Scarabs and Cylinders 
with Names. London 1917. 

Porter, B. and Moss, R.L.B. 
Topographical Bibliography of 
Ancient Egyptian Hieroglyphic Texts, 
Reliefs and Paintings. I. The Theban 
Necropolis. Part I. Private Tombs. 
Oxford 1960. 

- Part II. Royal Tombs and Smaller 
Cemeteries. Oxford 1964. 

Quirke, S. Who Were the Pharaohs! 
A History of Their Names with a List 
of Cartouches. London 1990. 

- and Spencer, J., eds. The British 
Museum Book of Ancient Egypt. 
London and New York 1992. 

Reeves, C.N. ed. After Tut 'ankhamun: 
Research and Excavation in the Royal 
Necropolis at Thebes. London 1992. 

- The Complete Tutankhamun: The 
King, The Tomb, The Royal Treasure. 
London and New York 1990. 

- Valley of the Kings: The Decline of a 
Royal Necropolis. London 1990. 

Saleh, M. and Sourouzian, H. The 

Egyptian Museum Cairo. Mainz 1987. 
Smith, Sir Grafton Elliot. The Royal 

Mummies. Cat. Gen. du Musee du 

Caire, nos 61051-61100. Cairo 1912. 
Spencer, A.J. Early Egypt: The Rise of 

Civilisation in the Nile Valley. 

London 1993. 
Thomas, E. The Royal Necropolis of 

Thebes. Princeton 1966. 
Winlock, H.E. The Rise and Fall of the 

Middle Kingdom in Thebes. New York 

Yoyotte, J. et al. Tanis: L'or des 

Pharaons. Paris 1987. 

220 Acknowledgments and Illustration Credits 



a: above; t: top; b: bottom; c: centre; 
1: left; r: right. 

Very special thanks are owed to Dr 
Richard Parkinson, Curator in the 
Department of Egyptian Antiquities in 
the British Museum, for making 
available the cartouches he drew for Dr 
Stephen Quirke's book (see 
Bibliography) and then adding many 
more for use here. Thanks also to my 
old photographer friend John G. Ross for 
making many of his splendid portrait 
photographs available. 

The following abbreviations are used 
to identify sources and locate 
illustrations: IB - Ian Bott (illustrator); 
BM - courtesy of the Trustees of the 
British Museum; BMFA - Boston 
Museum of Fine Arts; BrM - Brooklyn 
Museum; PAC - Peter A. Clayton; EAO 
- Egyptian Antiquities Organization,- 
EES - Egypt Exploration Society; HM - 
Hirmer, Munich; KT - Kodansha Ltd, 
Tokyo; LP - Louvre, Paris,- MMA - 
Metropolitan Museum of Art, New 
York; AP - Annick Petersen (illustrator); 
JP - James Putnam,- JGR - John G. Ross ; 
AS - Albert Shoucair; UMP - University 
Museum Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. 

half-title, Camera Press,- frontis, PAC; 
pages: 5t&cb EAO, ca JGR; 6 George 
Ortiz Collection, Geneva; 7a Bildarchiv 
Preussischer Kulturbesitz, b Jon Abbot, 
courtesy WONDERS, The Memphis 
International Cultural Series; 8 AP ; 10a 
BM, b AP; 11a Museo Nazionale 
Palermo, b PAC; 12-13 JGR ; 14l&r JGR, 

c BM; 15 JGR; 17 AP; 18 EAO; 19 AP; 

20a AP, b PAC; 21 AP (after W.B. 
Emery); 22 AP ; 23a EES, bl W.M.F. 
Petri e, Royal Tombs of the First 
Dynasty (1900), br Documentation 
Photo, Paris,- 24 BM ; 25a JGR, b RMN, 
Paris,- 26 JGR; 27 JGR; 28 after W.M.F. 
Petrie, Royal Tombs of the Earliest 
Dynasties (1901); 29tl PAC, r EAO, b 
after Petrie, Royal Tombs-, 30-31 JGR; 
32a HM, b BM ; 33a PAC, b EAO; 34a JP, 
b PAC; 35 JGR; 361 EAO, r AP; 37a after 
Kurt Mendelssohn, b PAC; 38a PAC, b 
John Freeman; 39 PAC; 40a PAC, b 
EAO; 41a PAC, b PAC; 421 JGR, r HM ; 
43 HM ; 44a PAC, b A.J. Spencer; 45 JP; 
46 BMFA; 47 Pelizaeus Museum, 
Hildesheim; 48a PAC, b Alberto Siliotti; 
49a PAC, b JGR; 50 LP; 51 PAC; 52 
George Hart; 53a JGR, b PAC; 54 EAO; 
55a PAC, c AP ; 54b-55b AP (after 
Mendelssohn); 56 PAC; 57a&b PAC; 58a 
Hirmer, b BMFA; 59 EAO; 60 JGR; 61 
AP (after Borchardt); 62 MMA; 63 A.F. 
Kersting; 64 BrM; 65 al Chris Scarre, ar 
Oriental Institute, Chicago, b JGR; 66 
EAO; 67 BrM; 68l-r Michael Duigan, 
PAC, JGR, PAC; 691-r JGR, JGR, JGR, 
PAC; 73a PAC, b JGR; 74 Archives 
Photographiques; 75 BrM; 761 Marburg, 
r PAC ; 77 PAC; 78 Marburg; 79a 
Michael Duigan, b HM ; 80a AS, be PAC, 

bl PAC, br AS; 81al PAC, ar HM, bl 
MMA; 83t LP, c EAO, b Ian Shaw ; 84 
HM; 851 JGR, r BM ; 86t AS, c EAO 
HM ; 87 PAC; 88a EAO, bl EAO, br 
Costa Cairo,- 89a PAC, b BM ; 921 H.V 
RMN Paris; 93 Numismatic Fin. 
International Inc ; 95 Professor Mar 
Bietak; 96a PAC, bl BM, br BM ; 981 r 
JGR, JGR, EAO, PAC; 991-r PAC, KT. 
JGR, BM ; 100 JGR; 101 BM ; 102 F 
103 from G. E. Smith, The Royal 
Mummies (1912); 104 MMA ; 105 
b EAO; 106a PAC, c PAC, b EES; 
107a&b PAC; 108a HM, bl EAO, br 
PAC; 109 EAO; 110a PAC, b PAC 
llla,c&b PAC; 112 EAO,- 113a PA 
MMA; 114a HM, b PAC; 115a JGR. I 
BM ; 116a PAC, b NFA Internatior 
117a&b PAC; 118a PAC, b EAO; 119 
Berlin Museum, b EAO; 120 PAC 1 2 1 
PAC; 122a BMFA, b HM ; 123a HM 
EAO; 124a&c PAC, b JGR,- 125a PAC 
AP ; 126 PAC; 127a&b PAC ; 128 KT 
129a PAC, bl C.N. Reeves, br KT- 1 11 
PAC, c AP; 132a KT, b JGR; 133: 
b JGR; 134a Griffith Institute, Ox: 
EAO,- 135 IB; 136 PAC; 137 HM ; 138a 
MMA, b PAC; 139a Leiden Museum 
PAC; 140 R. H. Wilkinson; 141 ; 
Smith, The Royal Mummies-, 142 
Girodias Paris,- 143a&b PAC ; 144 
Wilkinson, b BM ; 145 PAQ 144-5 
1461 Staatliche Sammlung Agypt> 
Kunst, Munich, r JGR; 1481 AlK: - 
Siliotti, c PAC; 1491 PAC, r Cyr; 
Aldred; 150 JP ; 151 Thames and 
Ltd, London; 152 PAC; 153 PAC 1 5 1 
PAC, b AP; 156 MMA; 157a R.H. 
Wilkinson, b & r EAO; 159a JGR 
AS; 160 BM; 162a HM, b PAC- 1 
Oriental Institute, Chicago; 164 
Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambria 
G.E. Smith, The Royal Mummies-. 
PAC; 168a from A. Piankoff, The 7 
of Ramesses VI, b Marburg; 169.. 
AS; 170a Royal Scottish Museum 
PAC; 173 1-r PAC, PAC, JGR, PA 
BM; 176a&b PAC; 177a&b PAC P 
PAC, b IB; 180 al AS, ar PAC, b PA 
181a PAC, b AS; 184a&b PAC 1^ 
Gaddis Luxor ; 186al RMN Paris, a 
Mortimer, b UMP; 1871 LP, r B.N'. : 
BM, b Royal Scottish Museum, 
Edinburgh,- 191 from A. Marietta 
Monuments divers Recueillis en £ 
et Nubie (1889); 192 HM ; 193 Gil 
Paris; 194 Leiden Museum,- 196;. 
b RMN Paris,- 197 BM ; 199a BM 
2001 Vatican, r M. Chuzeville, Pan: 
202a&bl PAC, r Nelson-Atkins 
Museum; 203 BM; 204a PAC, b V 
205 PAC; 206 PAC; 207 PAC- 2 
210 Mansell London; 211 Peabody 
Museum, Yale University,- 212 PA 
214a ACL Brussels, b Royal Ontan 
Museum; 215a LP, b PAC; 216 
217a&b PAC; 218 Tracy Wellman 



Index 221 


Numbers in italic script refer to illustrations 
on the relevant pages. 

(gd) god; (gds) goddess; (k) king; (q) queen 







Aahotep (q), 97, 100, 102 

Abbott 'tomb robbery' Papyrus, 101 

AbuRoash, 50-51 

Abu Simbel, 153-4, 196: 152, 154 

Abusir, pyramids of, 62 

Abydos, boats, 21; Khufu statuette, 4, 49: 42; 

King List, 11:11; Royal List of, 11, 23, 76, 

128, 138: 12; royal tombs at, 20-25, 26, 

28-9; stele of Tuthmosis I, 102; temple, 86, 

142-4: 143, 147 
Achaemenid Persians, 198-205 
Achoris (Hakor)(k), 203: 202 
Achthoes (k), 71 
Actium, battle of, 216-17 
Africanus, Sextus Julius, 9 
Ahmose I (k), 97, 100-101, 102; II (Amasis), 

197, 200 
Ahmose son of Ebana, 97, 100-102 
Akhenaten (k), 115, 118, 120-27: 7, 121-4 
Akhetaten see Amarna 
Akhtoy, chancellor, 75 
Aleppo, prince of, 151 
Alexander III, the Great (k), 205, 206-7: 206, 

Alexander IV [k), 207 
Alexandria, 206, 209, 212, 217; Treaty of 

(1801), 10 
Amarna (Akhetaten], 119, 122, 125: 125; 

'heresy 7 kings, 11, 128; Letters, 119, 126: 

126; sun cult at, 61 
Amasis (Ahmose II) (k), 197, 200 
Amelineau, E. 21 
Amenemhet, vizier, 77 
Amenemhet I (k), 77, 78-9 
Amenemhet II (k), 82 
Amenemhet III (k), 87-9: 6, 88 
Amenemhet IV, 89 
Amenemnisu (k), 179 
Amenemope (k), 181: 181 
Amenhirkhopshef, prince: 164 
Amenhotep I (k), 101: 100; heliacal rising of 

Sirius in reign of, 13 
Amenhotep II (k), 112-13: 112-13 
Amenhotep III (k), 115-19, 134: 115, 117, 119, 

120-21, 127 
Amenhotep IV see Akhenaten 
Amenhotep son of Hapu, architect, 116, 118: 

Amenirdis I [q], 191. 192; II, 195 
Amenmesses (k), 158 
Ammon, Zeus-, at Siwa Oasis, 206 
Amun (g), 105-6, 109, 121, 142, 185-8, 191: 

105, 185; Divine Adoratrice of, 187, 191-2, 

195, 197: 187; Gebel Barkal temple, 191; 

priesthood, 175; restoration of, 129-30; rise 

to prominence, 78, 86, 102, 162; Tanis 

temple, 180: 179; see also Karnak 
Amun-Min (g), 81, 206: 81, 207 
Amun-pnufer, tomb robber, 96-7 
Amyrtaeus (k), 200, 202 
Anedjib (k), 24 

Anen, Queen Tiy's brother, 115, 121 
Ankhesenamun (Ankhesenpaaten) (q), 124, 

126, 129, 134, 136-7: 129 
Ankhesneferibre, princess, 197: 197 
Ankhnesmerire I, II (q), 66-7: 67 
Ankhtify, noble, tomb of, 71 
Annals, of Tuthmosis III, 109 
Antigonus Gonatus, 209 
Antiochus IV, Syrian (k), 211-12 
Antoninus Pius, dated tetradrachm, 13 

Antony, Mark, 216-17 

Apepi I (k), 95-6 

Apis bull, 27, 199,202,205 

Apries (Wahibre) (k), 196-7, 198: 196 

Ark of the Covenant, 1 85 

Artaxerxes I, Achaemenid (k), 200; II, 200, 

203; III, 205: 205 
Aryan des, Persian satrap of Egypt, 199 
Ashmolean Museum, Oxford, objects 

illustrated from: 17, 19,27 
Ashurbanipal, Assyrian (k), 193, 195 
Asiatics, entering Egypt, 94 
Assyria, 192-3, 195-6 
astronomical ceiling, of Seti I, 144: 144 
Aten (g), the sun's disk, 120-23, 128: 124 
Athens, Athenians, 9, 200, 203, 204, 205, 204: 

204, 205 
Athothis (k) see Djer (k) 
Athribis, stele, 156, 157 
Augustus, emperor, 217 
Avaris (Tell el-Daba), 92, 94-5, 97: 95 
Ay, vizier, 121, 123, 128-9, 130, 131, 134; (k), 

136-7, 139: 137; 
Ayrton, Edward, 126 

Bab el-Hosan, Thebes, 75 

Babylon, 206-7 

Bahr Yusuf canal, Faiyum, 80, 84 

Bakenrenef (k), 189 

Barthelemy, Abbe Jean Jacques, 10 

Bay, Chancellor, 159 

Bek, Chief Sculptor, 123-4 

Belzoni, Giovanni, 4, 118, 134, 140, 144, 153, 

154: 53 
benben, stumpy obelisk, 61 
Beni Hassan, nomarchs of, 83, 94 
Bent or Blunt Pyramid see Dahshur 
Berlin Museum, 43, 60, 123, 124; objects 

illustrated from: fronds, 7, 119, 123, 177 
Bemer-Ib (q), 22 

Bible, co-relations with 21st Dynasty, 181 
Bieneches (k), 25 
Bietak, Manfred, 94 
boats, at Abu-Gurob, 61; Abydos, 21; Giza, 

48-9; Saqqara, 61, 65 
Bocchoris (k), 189 
Book of the Dead, 175, 202: 175-6 
Borchardt, Ludwig, 43, 62 
Boston Museum, 58; objects illustrated from: 

56, 58, 122 
Bouchard, Lt P.F.X., 10 
British Museum, 11, 52, 58, 62, 95, 96, 101, 

110, 116, 122, 192, 205; objects illustrated 

from: 10, 11, 20, 22, 24, 29, 32, 78, 85, 89, 

96, 101, 115, 126, 159, 160, 175, 176, 

187,189, 199,203-5,212 
Brooklyn Museum, 171; objects illustrated 

from: 38, 64, 65, 75 
Bruce, James, 'Brace's Tomb' (Ramesses III), 

Bubastis, 186-7 
Bubastite Dynasty, 183-8 
Buhen, fort, 87: 87 
'Buried' pyramid of Sekhemkhet, Saqqara, 

39-40: 39, 40 
Busiris, temple, 199 
Buto, 22; oracle of, 56 
Byblos, 62, 92, 170-71, 186 

Caesar, Julius, 216 

Caesarion, (Ptolemy XV), 216: 216 

222 Index 

Cairo Museum, 11; objects illustrated from: 
7, 18, 23, 25, 27, 29, 33, 41, 42, 60, 73, 74, 
76, 77, 79-81, 83-6, 88, 92, 96, 102, 103, 
106, 108-9, 114, 116, 118, 119, 122, 123, 
124, 125, 128-9, 133-4, 149, 157, 159, 165, 
177, 180-81, 184 186, 191, 192, 193 

calendar, ancient discrepancies, 12-13 

Cambyses II, Achaemenid (k), 198-9, 200 

canal, around First Cataract, 85; to Red Sea, 
196, 200 

Carian mercenaries, 195 

Carnarvon, Fifth Earl, 131 

Carter, Howard, 75, 107, 130, 135 

Caviglia, G.B., 52 

Censorinus, 13 

Chaires (Neterka)(k), 28 

Champollion, Jean Francois, 10, 187 

Cheops (k) see Khufu (k) 

Chephren (k) see Khafre (k) 

chronology, 9-13 

Cleomenes, satrap, 208 

Cleopatra Thea, 212: 212 

Cleopatra VII (q), 216: 216 

co-regencies, 79, 101, 119, 120-21, 126, 146-7, 
158, 160,210 

coins, coinage, 204, 206, 217: 204-5, 206, 208, 

Colossi of Memnon see Memnon, Colossi of 

Coptos, gold mines near, 80 

Crete, 82, 94 

Dacier, Lettre a M., 10 
Dagi, vizier, sarcophagus, 75 
Dahshur, Amenemhet II pyramid, 82; 

princesses' jewellery found nearby, 80: 80; 

Amenemhet III pyramid, 88: 89; Bent, Blunt, 

Rhomboidal pyramids, 43-5: 43, 44; Hor 

burial, 91: 92; Senusret III pyramid, 87; royal 

jewellery from nearby, 87: 86 
Darius I, Achaemenid. (k), 199-200: 199, 200; 

II, 200; III, 205, 206 
Davis, Theodore, 126, 139 
De Morgan, Jacques, 87 
Deir el-Bahari, temple, 86, 104, 106-7, 108-9: 

73, 106-7; royal mummy cache |DB 320) see 

royal mummy caches 
Deir el-Medina, 166, 169 
demotic script, 205: 205 
Den (Udimu](k), 20 
Dendera, temple, 19, 210, 214, 216, 217: 216, 

Divine Adoratrice of Amun, 187, 191-2, 195, 

197: 187 
Djedefre(k), 50-51, 61:50 
Djedhor (Teos) (k), 203 
Djedi, magician, 60, 
Djedkare-Isesi (k), 62-3 
Djehuty, general, 110 
Djer (k), 22-3 
Djet (Uadji)fk) 22-3 
Djoser (Zoser)(k), 21, 32-7: 32, 33 
'Dorak Treasure', 62 
Dra Abu el-Naga, Thebes, 72-3, 96, 101 
Dream Stele, Giza, 114 
Dreyer, C, 21 

Edfu, temple, 19, 210, 215: 215 

Edinburgh, Royal Scottish Museum, objects 

illustrated from: 124, 188 
Egypt Exploration Society, 20, 138 
el-Amarna see Amarna 

el-Kab (Nekheb), 28, 97, 199 

el-Kurru, 192 

el-Mallakh, Kamal, 48 

Elephantine, 85; inscription of Khufu, 46 

Elibaal, of Byblos (k), 186 

Emery, W.B., 21, 24, 25, 363 

Esarhaddon, Assyrian (k), 193 

Esna, temple, 217:217 

Eusebius, Bishop of Caesarea, 9 

Exodus, The, 151, 155, 158 

Faiyum, 82, 84, 87 
Firth, CM., 34 

Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge, objects 
illustrated from: 164 

Gaza, 109 

GebelBarkal, 191, 193 

George the Monk (Syncellus), 9 

German Archaeological Institute, Cairo, 21, 

Gilukhepa, princess, 116 
Giza, plan: 55; boat pits and Khufu's ship, 21, 

48-9: 46, 49; Great Pyramid of Khufu, 6, 21, 

47-8: 45, 46, 48; Khafre pyramid, 51-4: 45; 

valley temple, 51-2: 55; Menkaure pyramid, 

56-7: 57; Sphinx, 55, 113-14: 52 
goldmines, papyrus map of, 155 
Goneim, Zakaria, 38-9 
Great Harris Papyrus, 160-61, 163, 164 
Great Pyramid, Giza, see Giza, Great Pyramid 
Greek mercenaries, 196, 200 

Hakor (Achoris) (k), 203: 202 

Harem Conspiracy Papyrus, 164-5 

Harkhuf, and pygmy, 67 

Harsiese(k), 186, 188 

Hathor (gds), 19, 58, 109, 214, 216: 18, 59 

Hatnub, quarries, 66 

Hatshepsut (q), 101, 102, 104-7: 104-5, 107 

Hattusas (Boghazkoy), archives, 135 

Hattusilis III, Hittite (k), 153 

Hawara, Amenemhet III pyramid and 

Labyrinth, 88 
heb-sed, festival, 19, 28, 35-7, 86, 187: 19, 35, 

heliacal rising of Sirius, dating by, 13 
Heliopolis (On), 6, 10; obelisks, 81 
Hemaka, noble, Saqqara tomb, 24 
Hemon, 47: 47 
Henenu, steward, 76 
Henutsen (q), 48 
Herakleopolis, 70, 72, 73 
Herihor [k], 145, 171, 175: 175-6 
Hermopolis, Nefertiti block from, 122: 122 
Herodotus, Greek historian, 10, 20, 45, 47, 48, 

67, 197, 198-9 
Hesepti (k) see Semti (k) 
Hetep-heres (q), mother of Khufu, 42, 49: 49 
Hierakonpolis (Nekhen), 16-17, 19, 28, 66, 67 
hieratic, script, 62, 67 
Hittite prince, Zannanza, 135 
Hittite princesses, 147, 153 
Hittites, battles with, 147, 150-51, 153 
Hodges, Peter, 47 
Homer, Iliad, 175 
Hor (k), 91:92 
Hor-Aha (k), 19-22: 20 
Horemheb, general, 123, 128-30, 135: 138; (k), 

114, 137-9: 136 
Horus (gd) 19, 25, 215: 25 

Hotep-dif, priest, 26: 27 
Hotepsekhemwy (k), 26 
Huni(k), 40-41:38, 42 
Huy, Viceroy of Nubia, 130 
Hyksos, 93-7 
'Hymn to the Aten', 123 

Iliad, The, 175 

Imhotep, vizier and architect, 33, 36, 118: 33, 

Inaros, prince, 200 
Ineni, architect, 101, 102 
'Instructions of Amenemhet', 82 
Intef I, II, III (k), 72-3, 96: 96 
Iput,(q), 65 
Isis (q), 164 
Israel, 157, 185 
Istnofret (q), 147 
Itj-tawy, city, 79 
Iuput, 184, 186, 188, 189: 188 

Jequier, Gustave, 91 

Jerusalem, surrender of, 185, 192-3, 196 

Joppa, capture of, 110 

Josephus, Jewish historian, 9, 94, 100 

Judicial Papyrus, 164-5 

Kadesh, battle of, 146, 150-51: 151 

Kahun, pyramid town, 83 

Kakai (k) see Neferirkare (k) 

Kamose (k), 97 

Kaneferre (k), 71 

Kansas, Nelson- Atkins Museum, objects 

illustrated from: 202 
Karnak, temple, 106-7, 109, 110, 122, 138 

142, 149, 156-7, 176, 185-6, 191, 193, 207 

105, 108, 110, 113, 143, 149, 176, 185; 

Khonsu temple, 171: 176; Royal List of, '. 

128, 138; Senusret I kiosk, 81: 81 
Karomama I (q), 187: 187 
Karomamall (q), 187-8: 187 
Kawit (q), 65 
Khaba (k), 40 

Khaemwaset, prince, 63, 141, 147 
Khafre (Chephren)(k), 51-5: 53, 54 
Khamerernebty I (q), 58 
Khamerernebty II (q), 58: 58, 59 
Khargah Oasis, temple, 199 
Khasekhemwy (k), 27, 28-9: 26, 28, 29 
khekhei frieze, 37: 37 
Khendjer Userkare, (k), 91 
Khentkawes (q), 59, 61 
Khnum (g), 33: 33 

Khnumet, princess, jewellery, 80: 80 
Khnumhotep II, nomarch, 83, 94 
Khuenre, prince, 58 
Khufu (Cheops) (k), 6, 42, 58: 42 
Khui, prince, 66 
Khyan (k), 94 

Kingston Lacy, Dorset, obelisk, 10 
Kircher, Athanasius, 10 
Kiya (q), 127, 129, 130: 227 
Knossos, Crete, 82, 94 
Kom el-Ahmar (Hierakonpolis), 16 

labels, Early Dynastic, ivory and wood 1 

20, 22, 24 
labyrinth, Hawara, 88 
Lahun, jewellery, 80: 80; pyramid, 80. - 
Lateran, St John, obelisk, 114: 114 
'Layer' pyramid of Khaba, 40 

Index 223 





> 13 • 

Lebanon, campaigns in, 108 

Leiden Museum, 130, 138, 139; objects 

illustrated from: 139, 194 
Lepsius, Karl Richard, 130 
Levantine names and influence, 82 
Libyan Dynasty, 183-8 
Lisht, 77, 79, 

Loret, Victor, 111, 113, 119 
Louvre, Paris, 11, 180; objects illustrated 

from: 23, 25, 50, 51, 110, 120, 121, 184, 186, 

187, 196, 200, 202 
Luxor Museum, 85, 92; objects illustrated 

from: 115, 116 
Luxor temple, 115, 118, 130, 206: 118, 207 
Lysimachus, general, 206, 

Maceheads, Narmer, 17, 19: 19/Scorpion 7 , 19 

Malkata palace, 117 

Manetho, historian, 6, 9-10, 16, 22, 24, 25, 

26-8, 38, 42, 45, 51, 60, 64, 67, 70, 71 , 78, 

84,93-4, 100, 178, 183 
Mariette, Auguste, 41, 52, 73 
Martin, Geoffrey, 126, 130 
Masaherta, 178 

Maspero, Sir Gaston, 63, 177, 178 
mastaba, tomb form, 24, 33-4 
Mastaba el-Faraoun, South Saqqara, 59 
Maya, Treasurer, 114, 130 
Mazaeus, satrap, 205 
Mazghuna, pyramids at, 89 
Medinet Habu, temple, 161-3: 162-3 
Megiddo, 185; battle of, 109-10 
Meket-re, chancellor, wooden models of, 77: 

Mekytaten, princess, 124 
Memnon, Colossi of, 116: 116 
Memphis, 33, 197, 202, 209; capture, 193, 199; 

coins struck at, 204, 205; foundation of, 

21-2; origins of name, 66; theology (Shabaka 

Stone), 192 
Men (Hor-Aha) (k), 20 
Mendelssohn, Kurt, 40, 44 
Mendes, 202-3 
Menes (k), 16 

Menkaure (Mycerinus)(k), 56-8: 56, 58, 59, 61 
Menkheperre, 178 
Mentuemhet, Mayor of Thebes, 193, 195, 197: 

Mentuhotep I (k), 73-5, 77, 86: 73; queens of, 

76: 76 
Mentuhotep II (k), 75-6 
Mentuhotep III (k), 76-7 
mercenaries, 196; Carian, 195; Greek, 196, 

Merenre, copper statue, 17, 66: 66 
Mereret (q), jewellery, 86, 87: 86 
Mereruka, noble, 65: 65 
Meresankh (q), 42 
Merkha, Saqqara tomb, 25 
Merneferre Ay (k), 90-91 
Merneith (q), 22-3, 24, 27: 23 
Merneptah (k), 141, 147, 155, 156-8: 156-7 
Meryetamun (q), 147: 149 
Meryibre Khety (k), 71 
Merykare (k), 71 

Merymose, viceroy of Kush, 115, 116 
Merytaten, princess, 124, 126, 127: frontis 
Mesehti, general, wooden models of, 74: 74 
Metropolitan Museum, New York, 81; objects 

illustrated from: 80, 81, 104, 111, 139, 204 
Meydum, pyramid, 40-41: 40, 41 

Miebidos (k) see Anedjib (k) 

migdol, fortified gateway, 163: 162 

Minoan frescoes, Tell el-Daba, 94-5: 95 

Mitanni, 108 

Mnevis bull, 26, 205 

Montet, Pierre, 180, 188 

Moscow, Pushkin Museum, 1 70 

Moses, 19 

Moustafa, Hag Ahmed Youssef, restorer, 49 

mummies, 34, 103, 107, 145, 164: 103, 141, 

165, 175-8; see also royal mummy caches 
Munich Egyptian Museum, objects illustrated 

from: 146 
Mutnodjme (q), 123, 137 
Mutnodjmet (q), 181 
Muwatallis, Hittite (k), 150 
Mycerinus (kj see Menkaure (k) 

Nabopolassar, Assyrian (k), 195-6 

Nag-el-Medamoud, 83, 86 

Nahum, prophet, 1 93 

Nakhthoreb (Nectanebo II](k), 203-4, 209 

Nakhtmin, officer, 130 

Nakhtnebef (Nectanebo I](k), 203 

Napata, 113, 191 

Naqada, royal tomb, 20, 22 

Narmer [k], 16, 17ff ; Macehead, 17,19: 19; 

Palette, 17-19: 18 
Nasser, Lake 87 

Naucratis, 197, 208; priests of, 9 
Naville, Edouard, 109 
navy, Egyptian, 162: 163 
Nebitka, Saqqara tomb of, 24 
Nebka(k), 51 
Nebkaure Akhtoy (k), 71 
nebti name, 20, 218 
Nebuchadnezzar II, Assyrian (k), 196 
Necho (Nekau) (k) see Nekau (Necho) (k) 
Nectanebo I (Nakhtnebef)(k), 203: 203; II 

(Nakhthoreb), 203-5, 209, 217: 204 
Neferhotep I (k), 92 
Neferirkare (k), 60, 62 
Nefertari (q), 147, 154: 148-9 
Nefertiti (q), 121, 123, 124, 137: 122, 123, 124 
Nefru(q), 81 

Neguib, General Muhammad, 205 
Neith (gds), 20, 22, 200 
Nekau (Necho) I (k), 195; II (k), 196, 200: 194, 

Nekhbet (gds), 28 
Nekheb see el-Kab 
Nekhen see Hierakonpolis 
Nekure, prince, 5 1 
Nemathap (q), 29: 29 
Nephercheres (Neferkara)(k), 28 
Nepherites I (Nefaarud I)(k), 202: 202 
Nesitanebashru, princess, 177, 178: 177 
Netjerikhet (k) see Djoser (k) 
Nimlot(k), 184, 186, 187-8, 189, 191 
Nineveh, fall of, 196 
Nithotep (q], 19, 20, 22: 20 
Nitocris (q), 67 
Nitocris, princess, 195 
Nodjmet(q), 175, 177, 180: 175 
Nofret (q), 83 
Nofret, princess, 40: 40 
Nubia, Nubian campaigns, 85-6, 113-14, 116, 

130, 139, 157, 190-93: 85 
Nynetjer (k), 27 

Oasis of Siwa, Amnion oracle, 206 

obelisks, 81, 106-7, 108, 114: 1 05, 114 

Octavian, 216-17 

Opet, Festival of, Luxor Temple, 130, 191 

Ortiz Collection, Geneva: 6 

Osireion, 143-4 

Osiris, temple at Abydos, 142-4 

Osorkon I (k), 186: 186; II (k), 186-7: 186-8; III 

(k), 189; IV (k), 189 
'Osorkon the Elder 7 , 181 

'palace facade' architecture, 21: 21 
Palermo Stone, 11, 20, 23-5, 27: 11 
Palestine, campaigns in, 110-11, 130, 184-5, 

196, 209 
Pami (k), 189: 189 
Peasant, Tale of the Eloquent, 71 
Pedibastet (k), 188 
Peftjauabastet (k), 189 
Pelusium, 196,200,211 
Pepi I (k), 65-6: 64, 65; copper statue, 17: 66; 

decree of, 44; II (k), 67:67 
Perdiccas, 209 

Persepolis, Persian royal burials, 199, 200 
Persians, 197, 198-205 
Petrie, W.M.F. 21, 25, 42, 80, 83,119, 126, 156, 

Petrie Museum, University College London, 

Phanes of Halicarnassus, general, 198-9 
Pharaoh, royal names of, 218; smiting, 18: 18, 

Pharos, Alexandria, 210, 216 
Pherdates, satrap, 205 
Philadelphia, University Museum, objects 

illustrated from: 186, 196 
Philae, temple, 203, 210, 217 
Philip Arrhidaeus (k), 207 
Philistines, 161, 181: 163 
Piankh(k), 176 

Piankhi (Piyi)(k), 189, 190-92: 191 
Pinedjem I (k), 149, 176-8: 2 77; II (k), 178: 177 
Pompey's Pillar, Alexandria, 217 
Popilius, Caius Laenas, Roman senator, 212 
Psalm 104, 123 
Psammetichus (Psamtik) I (k), 193-4; II (k), 

196; III (k), 197,200 
Psusennes I. (k), 158, 177, 179: 179-80; II (k), 

181; 'IIP (k), 178,200 
Ptahshepses, mastaba inscription, 62 
Ptolemy I (k), 207, 208-10; II, 210: 210; III, 

210-11; IV, 211: 211; V, 211; VI, 211-12; VII, 

213; VIII, 213-14: 214; IX, 214: 214; X, 214: 

214; XI, 214-5; XII, 215: 215; XIII, 216; XIV, 

216; XV (Caesarion), 216: 216 
Punt, expedition, 106-7: 106 
Pyramid Texts, Saqqara, 63: 63 

Qa'a (k), 25: 25 
Qakare Iby (k), 70 
Quibell, J.E., 16 

Rahotep and Nofret, 40: 40 
Ramesses I (k), 140-41, 144: 140 
RamessesII (k), 142, 146-55: 7, 12, 146, 150, 

Ramesses III (k), 160-65: 160, 164, 165 
Ramesses IV (k), 164, 166-7: 166 
Ramesses V (k), 166, 167 
Ramesses VI (k), 13, 167-8, 188: 168 
Ramesses VII (k), 168-9 
Ramesses VIII (k), 169 

224 Index 

Ramesses IX (k), 158, 169-70: 169, 170; royal 

tomb inspectors, 97 , 101, 171 
Ramesses X (k), 170 
Ramesses XI (K), 170-71: 170, 178 
Ramesseum, mortuary temple, 151, 153: 150, 

Raneb (k), 26 
Raphia, battle of, 211 
Re-Atum (g), 81 
Re-Harakhte, 114, 122 
Reisner, George A., 58 
Rekhmire, vizier, 110 
Reweddjedet, mother of the 5th Dyasty kings, 

Rhomboidal Pyramid see Dahshur 
Rome, interference in Egyptian politics, 212, 

Rosetta Stone, 10, 211: 10 
Royal Canon of Turin, 12, 42, 51, 76, 91, 94 
royal mummy caches, 141, 171; list of 

occupants, 103; in DB 320, 96, 102, 103, 

145, 155, 165, 170, 175-8: 96, 111, 141, 165; 

inKV35, 103, 113, 114, 119, 141, 158, 159, 

161, 165, 167, 168: 113, 141, 167, 168 
Rudamon(k), 189 

sacrificial (satellite) burials, at Abydos and 

Saqqara, 21-5 
saff ('portico') tombs, 72, 75 
Sahure (k), 60, 62: 62 
Sais, 20, 22, 197, 200, 202 
Sanakhte (k), 32: 32 
Saqqara, 195; 5th-6th Dynasty pyramids, 

63-6; Pyramid Texts, 63; Royal List of, 12, 

24-5, 42; Sekhemkhet pyramid, 39-40: 39, 

40; Step Pyramid complex, 24, 33-7: 34-7; 

tombs of nobles at, 21-5; see also Serapeum 
satraps, Persian, 199, 200, 205, 208-9 
scarabs, large commemorative, of Amenophis 

III, 115-16: 115, 116 
Schiaparelli, Ernesto, 164 
'Scorpion' (k), 16, 17; Macehead, 17 
Sea Peoples, 161-3: 263 
Sebennytos, 9, 203 
Sehel inscription no. 81, 10, 33: 33 
Sekhem-ka, Saqqara" tomb, 23 
Sekhemib (k) see Seth-Peribsen (k) 
Sekhemkhet (k), 38-40: 38-40 
Sema, Alexandria, 209, 217 
Semerkhet (k), 24, 25: 25 
Semti, throne name of Den, 23 
Senenmut, 104, 105, 106: 105 
Sennacherib, Assyrian (k), 192-3 
Senusret I (k), 79-81:82 
Senusret II (k), 82-3: 80, 83 
Senusret III, 84-7: 85, 86; heliacal rising of 

Sirius in reign of, 13 
Septimius Severus, emperor, 117 
Seqenenre Tao (k), 95-6: 96 
Serabit el-Khadim, Sinai, 12, 119, 167 
Serapeum, Saqqara, 199, 202 
serdab, Saqqara, 34-5: 32, 34 
serekh, 18, 21, 22, 25, 26, 28: 20, 21, 22, 26 
Seth (g), 94; animal, 28: 27 
Seth-Peribsen (k), 27-8: 27 
Sethenes (Sendjij(k), 28 
Seti I (k), 141-5: 142, 143, 145; II (k), 158-9: 

Setka, prince, 50: 50 
Setnakhte (k), 159, 160-61 
Shabaka (k), 192 

Shabaka Stone, 10 

Shalmaneser III, Assyrian (k), 187 

Shebitku (k), 192 

Shepenwepet I, 191; II, 195 

'Shepherd Kings' see Hyksos 

Shepseskaf (k), 58-9: 58 

Sheshonq I (k), 110, 183-6: 184-5; II (k), 186: 

186; III (k), 188; IV (k), 189; V (k), 189 
Shunet el-Zebib, Abydos, 29 
Siamun (k), 181 

Sinai, 12, 32, 38, 43, 46, 87-8, 168 
Sinuhe, Story of, 79, 82 
Siptah (k), 159 
Sirius, heliacal rising of, 13 
Sit-Hathor, princess, jewellery, 87 
Sit-Hathor-Yunet, princess, jewellery, 80, 83: 

Sitre (q), 141 
Siwa Oasis, 199, 206 

Smendes (k), 145, 155, 176, 178-9; II (k), 178 
Smenkhkare (k), 126-7: frontis, 127 
Smith, Sir Grafton Elliot, 168 
Snefru (k), 42-4: 44 
Sobek, (g), 87 

Sobekemsaf (k), 96-7, 171:96 
Sobekhotep IV (k), 92: 92 
Sobeknefru (q), 78, 89: 89 
solar temple, Abusir, 61-2 
Soleb lions, 118 
Solomon, Israelite (k), 184-5 
Solon, Athenian statesman, 9 
Sosibius, 211 
Sphinx, at Giza, 55, 113-14: 52 } female, 107: 

Step Pyramid complex, Saqqara, 33-7: 34-7 
Strabo, geographer, 88, 209 
Suez Canal, preempted, 196 
sun cult, at Abu-Gurob, 61-2: 62; at Amarna, 

61, 122 
Syria, campaigns in, 86, 108, 109-10, 112-14, 

130, 139, 142,211 

Taharqa (k), 193 

Takelot I (k), 186; II (k), 187-8; III (k), 189 

Tale of the Eloquent Peasant, 71 

Tanis, 83, 92, 178-88: 179-81 

Tanutamun (k), 193 

Tarasius, Patriarch, 9 

Tefnakht(k), 189 

Tell el-Daba see Avaris 

Tell el-Yahudiyeh, 94 

Teos (Djedhor) (k), 203-4: 204 

Teti I, 64: 64, 65 

Thanuny, army commander, 109 

This, Thinite kings, 15, 25 

Thunery, Royal Scribe, Saqqara King List from 

tomb of, 12, 24 
Tia, princess, 138, 142 
Titi (q), 164 

Titus, emperor, 217:227 
Tiy (q), 115, 117, 119, 121, 126-7: 229 
Tod, Treasure of, 82 

'Tomb of the Harpers' (Ramesses III), 165 
tomb robbing papyri, 72, 171 
Trajan, emperor, 217 

Treasure of the Three Princesses, 110: 110 
Turin Egyptian museum, 155, 164, 167; 

objects illustrated from: 100, 146; Royal 

Canon, see Royal Canon of Turin 
Tutankhamun (k), 119, 127, 128-35, 136-7, 

167, 171: 128, 129, 134; five royal names of, 

218; scrap gold value of coffin and mask, 6 
Tuthmosis I (k), 101-2: 203, 205, 207 
TuthmosisII, 102: 103 
Tuthmosis III, 104, 107, 108-11, 114: 108-9, 

Tuthmosis IV (k), 55, 122: 103 
Tuya (q), 145 
Twosret (q), 159 

Uadji (k) see Djet (k) 
Udimu (k) see Den (k) 
Udjahorresne, inscription of, 200 
Unas (k), 63; early sealings from area of 

pyramid, 26 
Ur, Royal Tombs of, 22 
Userkaf (k), 60-62: 60 
Userkare (?k), 64 
ushabtis, 22, 101, 114, 124, 126, 127, 130, 

133, 155, 158, 176-8, 188, 192, 197, 202, 

204: 233, 2 77, 194,202 

Valley of the Kings, 101, 107, 110, 113, 114, 
119, 126-7, 131, 134, 136, 138, 140-41, 
144-5, 155, 157-8, 159, 165, 167-9: 127, 
131, 136-7, 138-9, 140, 144-5, 157, 159; 
royal mummy cache (KV 35), see royal 
mummy caches 

Valley of the Queens, 141, 145, 147, 158, 164: 

Vatican Museum, objects illustrated from: 
200, 210 

Vergina, 209 

Victory stele, of Merneptah, 156: 157; of 
Piankhi, 191: 292 

Vyse, Col. Howard, 57-8 

Wadi Haifa, 22, 140 

Wadi Hammamat quarries, 74, 76, 77, 80, 167 

Wadi Maghara, Sinai, reliefs, 32, 38, 43, 46: 

WadiTumilat, 196 
Wadjkare (k), 71 
Wahibre (Apries) (k), 196-7: 296 
Wahneferhotep, prince, 92 
Wenamun, Tale of, 170-71 
Weni, judge, 67 
Weret-Imtes (q), 66, 67 
Westcar Papyrus, 43, 60 
Wilkinson, Sir John Gardner, 165 
Winlock, Herbert, 74, 76, 77 

Xerxes, Achaeminid (k), 200 

Yale University Art Gallery, objects 

illustrated from: 211 
Yantin, prince of Byblos, 92 
Yuya, and Thuya, parents of Queen Tiy, 115: 

116, 121 

Zannanza, Hittite prince, 135 

Zawiyet el- Aryan, 'Layer' pyramid, 40: 52 

Zoser (Djoser) (k) see Djoser (Zoser)